Category Archives: Movies

July 4th Fun

Yesterday was a very exciting July 4th! I took the kids downtown to join friends outside of the football stadium.  Fireworks were scheduled to begin at 9pm.  I’d not been to this before and was very much looking forward to it. Our friends set up a a tent outside the stadium and have food, games, fun, all kinds of stuff, for several hours before the show.  The tent we were in was pretty large, here is a view of just one side of it. There was room underneath for about 15 of us.

When we arrived at about 6pm, it was raining some, so we couldn’t sit out on the grass, but it did clear up for awhile. The kids all got goodies bags with things to keep them entertained, silly string, bubbles, confetti – they really enjoyed it. Here, Jihad checks out his goody bag.

At some point in between the rain, the fireworks crew set off some – our guess was to test the equipment but it was a fun teaser. I was talking through it in order to keep Kaleya excited; I didn’t want her to get too scared and she fortunately didn’t.

Then, after it was dark, it really started to rain again, so they started the fireworks early. It was so much fun! The finale was just crazy and I managed to get a clip of that:

We are all excited about going back next year. Then, today, we went to the movies to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. That was entertaining, though, I don’t think it was as good as the first one.

Hope everyone also had a good weekend! The rest of our pictures are here.

Kaleya Loves Hairspray

Signing says “To Kaleya – You Rock! Taylor Parks”

This is what we received in the mail today for Kaleya! Kaleya has been all over Hairspray the past month and she loves Little Inez’s part. So, Kalonji found her on MySpace and I requested an autographed picture for Kaleya and she sent it. How cool!

Visiting Fisk

Family Fest – Day 3

Today we went to Fisk and had an incredible day. I have a new appreciation for the history of the institution and all that it symbolizes. We took the kids there so they start to understand the importance and significance of having an education.

We got to campus at 10am and were treated to a tour by a student with an intriguing background – W.J. (we’ll call him), is a double major in history and religion and a minor in secondary education. He was an awesome tour guide – extremely knowledgeable and exactly the kind of tour guide we hoped we’d have. If I were to post about everything we learned today, I’d have a post five pages long!

Fisk was established in 1866 and was the first post-civil war education institution for blacks. We started in Cravath Hall, which used to be the original library. Built by masons, the building looks the same from all directions and has masonic images over the doorway.

W.J. then took us over to the Fisk Chapel where performances by the who’s who of black history have performed and lectured. The Chapel is a beautiful structure and we learned that when a royal patriarch in Ghana learned that Fisk did not have the money to finish construction, he literally took the roof off of his residence and sent it over to Fisk with his architects. Also, the Chapel is made from stone and mahogany wood which do not burn, so whenever there was a threat to the students on campus, they would go into the Chapel into rooms hidden among the roof of the chapel.

W.J. informed us that Miles Davis had once performed there, so of course I had to take a picture of Miles standing in front.

We then walked over to Jubilee Hall, the original building on campus and the one built with the funds raised by the Jubilee Singers. Along the way we passed by this painting on the ground done by Nikki Giovanni when she was a senior at Fisk, and now the tradition is that each year, the senior class repaints it.

Jubilee Hall is a great structure, built on what was the highest hill in Nashville and the original location where slaves were sold. Jubilee Hall was the first permanent structure in the country built exclusively for the purpose of educating blacks.

The first floor of Jubilee Hall is maintained in original condition for the most part b/c it is a National Historic Landmark. Inside, the original painting of the Jubilee Singers is housed in a meeting room. That meeting room also has beams in the room that were taken from an Austrian castle built in the 1300s. Amazing.

At this point, W.J. departed from us and we went off to lunch. We came back to the campus after lunch to visit a colleague of mine at the Fisk Library and we viewed the art in the Aaron Douglass gallery on the 3rd floor of the library. Also on the 3rd floor was a collection of sketches by Cyrus Baldridge, who walked across Africa with his wife in the 1930s and made sketches of those he interacted with.

There was so much more to our visit but these were some of the highlights. Pictures from yesterday’s visit to the TN State Museum are here, and pictures from Fisk are here.

Tonight, we got the boys watching the first half of Roots. Further education for them. Tomorrow we’ll finish. No other major plans than that and running some errands.

Family Fun Day 2

Family Fest – Day 1 & 2
This week we have all the kids! (I have four stepsons in case you didn’t know) for a week of family fun. 

Yesterday we had a very leisurely morning – not really stirring until around 9 or so (well, them — i myself did not get up until about 11!). We headed out to run a couple of errands (including vehicle registration, which if I had only known about the new online option last week I could have avoided).

[Kaleya & Miles at the county clerk office.]

Then, we decided to go to the TN State Museum, however, I failed to realize that the museum is not open on Mondays. Instead, we went to the public library for some time, then hit a local used bookstore to pick up some of our own books, went grocery shopping and came home.

[Walking downtown.]

Last night, the boys are watched the movie Pride about a black swim team that came out last year. It chronicles the story of Jim Ellis, a swim coach who started the first black swim team. The team was based out of a recreation center in Philadelphia. I watched this with Kalonji a couple of weeks ago and it is definitely worth watching.

This morning, we went to our local Regal Cinemas and were able to see Bee Movie for free due to a program they run in the summer for showing free movies. We had all seen it before, but it was fun to see it on the big screen again. The movie theater was packed to!

After having lunch at home, we then took the kids to the Tennessee State Museum. This was my first time going, despite all the years I’ve lived here and I was pleasantly surprised. There were a good number of exhibits — all of them well done. We asked the kids to take turns reading from the exhibits and discussing what was presented. I actually learned quite a bit about some of the history of early Tennessee and the cities here. Also, learned more about some of the lifestyle conditions of the people in Tennessee from the early frontier days to early 1900s.

[Kaleya next to a bench carved by Davy Crockett. ] 

[everyone watches a short educational film]

Tomorrow we go to take them on a tour of Fisk. We got them started early as they had to read the plates that went along with each item in the collection. 

[Miles reads about the Fisk Jubilee singers.]

Not sure what tomorrow necessarily brings after the tour – possibly visit BiCentennial Mall for a minute or Fort Negley, then I’d love to get some swimming in for them; we’ll see.



Kung-Fu Panda

We took Kaleya to go see Kung Fu Panda last night. It was very cute and I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would! Kaleya is so funny; she runs around making hand movements like they do in the movie. Kalonji and I have considered putting her in karate for the past year so we are hoping this movie gets her motivated. The only problem is that most places don’t start kids until they are 5 years old. So, looks like we may have to wait a little while longer 🙂