Category Archives: Family

Weather @ WSMV

Last month the kids began studying weather in school.  We have been trying to find supplemental activities for them and Jihad has seem to taken a special interest in the weather.   Therefore, we inquired about an opportunity for them to visit one of our local news stations, WSMV Channel 4 (our NBC affiliate), so that they could get a behind-the-scenes view.   I was quite ecstatic when weatherman Dan Thomas replied that we could indeed visit.

Last night we arrived at the news station a little after 6pm.  I was thinking we’d just get an overview of how Dan does the weather, but imagine our surprise when we learned we would actually be watching them do the newscast live! We had seats right next to the green screen and of course had to be quiet since it was a live broadcast.

The studio was less crowded than I would have thought.  Besides Dan, there were two staff members and Demetria Kalodimos was at the anchor desk.

Demetria at the anchor desk.

Later in the broadcast Jennifer Johnson replaced Demtria as the anchor and Rudy Kalis came in to do the sports.

Jennifer at the anchor desk.
Rudy, just before his part of the broadcast.

They all said hello to us and Demetria even came over to shake our hands (note, I was a little awe struck – I heart Demetria.  I used to watch her and Dan Miller every day.)

After the broadcast, Dan showed Jihad the computers he uses to view the weather and create the forecast. We also were able to see him use the storm tracker.  Jihad even had a chance to use  the weather computer, as well as the clicker that moves between the slides of the weather maps.  Dan shared with us that he learned meteorology at Penn State University – apparently, 25% of all weather forecasters come from there.  And, Penn State has an annual weather camp too for kids & adults interested in learning more.

Jihad & Dan
In front of the weather desk.

and the kids even sat at the anchor desk — you could see them doing this one day themselves right?

Kaleya the anchorwoman
Jihad the anchorman

Dan showed us around the rest of the building so we saw where the show producers, writers and other staff sit.  Thank you Dan four the visit & tour and being so accommodating for our family. The kids loved it! We parents loved it too! :-)



Book About Hurricane Katrina

From Taneya:  I’ve created an account on the blog for Jihad now so he can be a guest author.  Below is his first post. :-)

I am reading a book called Ninth Ward.  It is about a girl named Lanesha who has a grandma named MaMa Ya-Ya.  Well Lanesha is a 12-year old girl that lives in New Orleans.  Lanesha has been seeing ghosts since she was an itty bitty baby.  But Lanesha has been having hard times at school because she has been seeing ghosts everywhere at her school.  She says they all look sad.  MaMA Ya-Ya is a very nice lady who raised Lanesha and took extra care of her.

The reason I am reading this book is because it is educational and tells you how bad Hurricane Katrina was when it hit New Orleans and how it killed a lot of people and flooded homes.  I am also reading this book cause when you read it it actually tells you in the book how people were in Hurricane Katrina and died or drowned.  My schoolteacher has the whole class reading this book because the author of the book, Jewell Parker Rhodes, is coming to our school, LEAD Academy, tomorrow to read to us and my teacher wants us to be prepared.

The book is great so far because I like how they descibe the ghost in the book cause I always wanted to know how ghost look.  I also think about this book so far how Lanesha survies Hurricane Katrina and saves Spot (the dog).



Saturday Fun

Yesterday we had a nice family day – the weather was beautiful and we had a great Saturday.  We began by attending a puppet show at the Nashville Public Library – Alice in Wonderland.  It was actually a mix of live performers + puppets and it was CROWDED! We went as part of the birthday celebration of one of Kaleya’s friends – he turned 4.   While Kaleya has been to many of these types of performances, I’ve only been to one other, so it was fun to go again.

Alice in Wonderland in progress
Kaleya MUST have her library hand stamp!

After the show, it was off to the park to celebrate with cake and ice cream.

the birthday boy looks over his cake
Kaleya plays
Kaleya, Jihad and friend

After leaving the park, we then went by a local comic book store, The Great Escape.  They were hosting a book signing by 12-year old Luke Robinson.  Luke, from nearby Dickson County, TN, was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3.  He then had several years of chemotherapy treatment and his cancer is now in remission.  He conceived an idea for a comic book that he hopes will help other kids cope with treatment.  The Make A Wish Foundation helped him bring his concept to reality and enlisted the talent of Ryan Dunlavey to write and illustrate it.  The first comic, Super Shot, was published this month.

Great Escape had a book signing so we went and got one for both Jihad & Kaleya.

Luke signs for Jihad
Jihad starts reading and finished it before we left the store!

The rest of the afternoon and evening we spent at home watching movies.  Lovely, lovely day!


Kalonji’s Knowledge Korner

Can I just start by saying that I am so incredibly proud of my husband????!!!

In December, Kalonji decided to pursue his passion and founded his own non-profit agency, Kalonji’s Knowledge Korner.  The program will function as a summer and after-school youth mentoring program for our community here in North Nashville.   The first phase is expected to begin in June as Kalonji partners with friends & colleagues to offer a two-month summer program.

Over the past few months Kalonji has been actively working to getting all the pieces in place.  Part of that of course is a website.  We set up a basic site for the organization in January, but were never truly happy with it.  Well, over the past few weeks I’ve been redesigning the site and the new site is now live!

On the site you will find various aspects:

  • read the 4 Kornerstones page for an overview of the program framework
  • a blog where Kalonji will post from time to time with news & education/technology related news
  • a “Get Social”  graphic area to connect to his various online spots.   He now has a new Twitter account so while there is not much there yet we expect to get him up and running over the next several days
  • you can sign up for E-mail receipt of the blog posts if you’d rather it come directly to your inbox
  • and what would a non-profit organization be without the Donate option?

Yours truly is his webmaster and social media strategist.  However, my master plan is to teach Jihad how to use all of these technologies so that he can eventually take over.  Admirable goal for a 12-year old huh! I’m also going to be helping with the incorporation of genealogy & local history research with the kids as a way to promote information literacy.  No surprises there right? :-)

Kalonji also spoke at Cumberland University last week for their Black History Month Vigil – read his blog post about it.  We hope you will continue to stay abreast of his activities and let us know if you have thoughts, suggestions, and/or ideas for activities & collaborations.

Our Valentine’s Weekend

Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Weekend! Ours was pretty nice.  On Saturday, Kaleya traded a small present with one of her buddies.

Kaleya trades Valentines

On Sunday, we ventured over to our favorite meat & 3 place here in Nashville – Harper’s restaurant.  It’s owned by Paul & Thelma Harper and we go there at least once a week it seems.  On Sunday evening they hosted a Valentine’s Dinner and featured a local band to play the evening – BlackDiamond.

The kids came along with us for we celebrate with the whole family ya know. :-)

advertisement for the band
Kaleya hugs Jihad
the trio at dinner

We had a nice evening.  I did not get any pictures of the band but you can learn more about them at or follow their new Twitter account.

Let’s Play Chess

Last night, we took the family over to the Nashville Chess Center.  Why were we there you ask?  Well, Kalonji went to meet the administrative staff at the center to discuss potential collaborations for Kalonji’s non-profit.   Admittedly, I know absolutely nothing about chess,  but Kalonji has been teaching Kaleya & Jihad how to play.   They were having their Holiday Party and there were at least 50 or so people there.

It is located in a gorgeous old home on Belmont Avenue.

Picture of the Chess Center building

And, the space is divided into areas for play, for learning, and they even have a small library.  It was fun to watch some of the regulars play even though I couldn’t follow along.   One of the members set Kaleya & Jihad up on a computer to do a chess tutorial.  Kaleya knows how a few of the pieces move so she was actually explaining them to me.  Jihad was doing his own thing – he didn’t need me at all :-)

Jihad snacks
Jihad and Kaleya play

You know me…I had to take some pictures in their library.

a view in the libraray
cool chessboard
my librarian self loves the classification

The  club is open two nights a week and a few hours on Sunday afternoon so we will likely join after the holidays.  Kalonji wants the kids in his mentoring program to understand the rules and ways of the game as a way to further stimulate strategic thinking skills.   There may be more chess reported here on the blog in the near future  :-).