Category Archives: Family

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. ¬†ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā


You Can’t See Me

One day a couple of weeks ago I see Kaleya do this “You Can’t See Me” move and I thought it was cute. Then, Jihad tells me it’s a John Cena thing – ooooh!!! (Kalonji is a wrestling fan).

Tonight, Kaleya let me record her doing it. I just think it’s the cutest thing ūüôā

All About Town

This weekend has been a fairly quiet one for us.  It did not start off very well for me РI either caught a stomach virus or had a case of food poisoning on Friday and as a result spent ALL DAY in bed.  I felt really horrible and was very glad to see Saturday morning come and my vigor return.   I even felt well enough to keep to our plans for the day Рa birthday party and a Nashville RollerGirls game.

The birthday party was held at Centennial Park and was for one of Kaleya’s good friends who turned 7 this week. Unfortunately, I did not take many pictures at all of the party itself, ¬†just one of most of the group.

birthday party gathering in the park

Since we were in the park, I did wish to take the kids to go see the Athena statue in the Parthenon. My last visit was years ago, well before she was gilded in gold, so I too wanted to see it. ¬†Jihad was able to tell me all the details about Athena for he’d been studying Greek Mythology in school – I was duly impressed. ūüôā

kids in front of the statue of Athena in the Parthenon

After the party we came home and I spent about an hour or so tidying the house – then we had to get ready for the Nashville RollerGirls (NRG) season operner ¬†game. ¬†We are fans and I did a great post last year related to a game we went to for Jihad’s birthday. ¬†This weekend, they played Kansas City and KC was no joke! Unfortunately, NRG lost but it was still a great game.

Here’s a video clip of a jam by Rambo Sambo

and one of part of the halftime show by the JeerLeaders; this is great b/c you see one of the fans really getting into the performance (about 14 seconds in).  I am hoping maybe someone else got an even better video of this!

Had a great day overall.  Today we rested, doing much of nothing.  I was honestly a little wiped out from having been out most of the day yesterday.  This upcoming week is going to be extremely busy so a girl needs her rest.


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 РI 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 Рapparently, 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! ūüôā



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. ūüôā

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? ūüôā

Kalonji also spoke at Cumberland University last week for their Black History Month Vigil Рread 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. ūüôā

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.