Hey guys. I know its been a while, but I saw a lot of dancers making these videos and wanted to try to make one…so, Leggo!
It’s been a while, but I had to share this one!
We have all had a very hot summer, no different here on the East Coast. We buy cases of water just to keep the kids hydrated while out and about. PopPop went out and picked up two cases. So, Hara and Spike are hanging with their PopPop on this scorching, early afternoon. The kids, like always begged PopPop for some tasks to do, and he love to give the kids chores and small projects. I love it because it keeps them busy.
Well, I can hear them working hard, and then PopPop comes in laughing and says, “I will pay you if you don’t laugh,” as he guides me out on the deck.
“I told them to clean out the cooler with the hose and then put the water in the cooler.” My dad giggles, “I guess I should have been specific, huh?”
I try to hold in my chuckle.
“We did good didn’t we?” Hara smiles.
“We’re almost done,” Spike pours the last drop of water from a water bottle, into the cooler.
I smile and agree, “You guys sure did!” I turn to PopPop and say, “yep you gotta be specific with kids, you gave the direction and they did it to the tee. ‘Put the water in the cooler, right?’
YouTube.com – Debra Silverman
Check this out, don’t pass it by. Do you really know your Zodiac personality? Have a bit of fun here. Debra Silverman, psychotherapist and astrology professional acts out the 12 Zodiac signs with eery accuracy. She is so scary, I found myself getting a bit defensive when confronted with how feely I was, I am a true Cancer and OMG, did that smart when she did took that one, two punch to my gut.
My daughter, Stormie and I watched her sign video, Leo, and Whoa! She couldn’t stop smiling, I couldn’t stop from laughing. I appreciate this woman’s insight, her hilarity and her raw look at each sign. I have 8 kids and we cover most of the Zodiac, and oh my, oh me, did she ever nail their personalities.
I wonder if she has been using my family as a psycho-therapeutic/ astrological, observation group, maybe she’s staked outside now??!!
“Get off my yard!!!!! I mean it!!!! Oh, I’m sorry , that made me feel all icky, you can watch us, we’re all family anyway.”
Maybe I need to rethink my profession and go into astrology, or go see Dr. Debra Silverman.
This Latino classic recipe gets a delicious boost of flavor if you use Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera), it’s a very smoky flavor. Find it in the Hispanic food aisle. If not you can use a variation of spices. This is a stand alone dish, a side dish, or you can add different meat, if you want to spice things up! 30 minute meal!
Makes about 8 servings
* 2-3 slices of turkey bacon, or turkey sausage (I use this because we don’t use pork in my family, and we are moving toward vegetarian)
* 2/3 of a cup low sodium chicken cooking stock
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 cups long grain white/ jasmine/ or basmati rice
* 3 bay leaves
* 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
* one medium tomato dices (can substitute can, drain and rinse)
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin
* 1 tablespoon hot Spanish smoked paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
* tablespoon cayenne pepper
* 2 teaspoons chili powder (note: in substitution of the Pimenton de la Vera)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 4 cups water
* 1 15-16 oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
On high, add low sodium chicken cooking stock. Saute chopped bacon or sausage in heavy 4 quart saucepan over medium to high heat until fat is rendered (about 5 minutes). Add onion, red pepper,and garlic; saute until golden (5 mins). Add rice (dry) and coat with the sauted mixture for 1-2 mins. stir in bay leaves, tomato paste, tomato cumin, paprika, and salt. Add 4 cups of water and beans and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cooking for about 18-20 mins., until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff rice with fork Remove bay leaves, place in beautiful dish, and serve.
It’s just a quick aside today. I have to say that a bit of advice that my mom got from a close friend’s Mum was this on point.
“Remember girls, you are mothers with duty and responsibility. You are not in charge of children, you are not raising little boys, you are raising sons that will grow to be men, we all are raising adults of the future, keep that in mind, shall we? Just ask yourself as you go along, will my son make a good father, will he be a good man when I’m gone?”
Those words, with many other lessons on parenting stay with me each day. I am so blessed to be able to raise my kids and see the progress. It ain’t easy everyday, but some days, when I saty out of sight and really quiet, I am rewarded.
Bubba and Romeme are such nice big brothers. These guys, though much older than Spike and Hara, always take the time out to pay attention, listen to them, and tell them stories.
Sometimes Spike just tells me that he’s not being with me, he has no time to snuggle.
“Where ya goin then,” I ask.
“Bubba’s room, to watch him play,” Spike bounds out the room and is lost to me for a while. When I do finally go to peek, he’s nestled next to this gentle giant of a brother, head resting on Bubba’s arm dozing as Bubba does this or that on the computer.
I love seeing this stuff. The other day, I cracked up, just listening to a volley of insults between Romeme and Hara. Both of these kids are conceited, and so self absorbed it’s a shame. They argued over who was more entitled to have the last juice box, who had a better smile, which one had more fashion sense, who’s teacher liked them more in kindergarten and of course, who had the power to persuade PopPop. I giggled to myself as this went on, but the funniest thing was the last tug-o-war.
It seemed that the whole debate of who was better was over, Hara had left and went downstairs (so it seemed), Romeme was in the doorway having a conversation with the rest of the Kra8yZee Bunch. My view was blocked by one of them, I only saw that Romeme kept swatting and was distracted. He kept talking and then, turning abruptly he yelled…
“Will YOU stop Kissing me already!”
An explosion of giggles, the patter of little feet running and Romeme turning on his heels, huge smile excuses himself to set to chase. Spike sees this and off he goes, followed by a WILD Mei-Mei, and once downstairs the rest joint in. Hara had set it afire, swinging on her big brothers arm and kissing his elbow over and over like a good little, pesky sister should.I love my kids!
Last night I was so frustrated. I couldn’t see past the red that hazed over my eyes. I was angry with the kids and their behavior. I was tired of being referee, tired of trying to be the cheerleader, and definitely tired of wasting my breath pouring out nuggets of wisdom, affirmations and positive/motivational pep talks. Who the hell did these ungrateful little welps think they were? Bickering all the time, talking over me, and being down right disrespectful. In the words of the Immortal Aretha Franklin,
“R.E.S.P.E.C.T…kids, find out what it means to ME!
Having a child diagnosed ASD is something that a parent deals with in fluidity. What I mean by that is that it is always a give and take, a push and pull, and you are ever adjusting to the stages of this child because their development, maturity and ability to communicate is never standard, always complex, and always a puzzle.Parents with ASD children are some of the best stock I know, we are strong, resilient and will fight like Leonidas (taking every arrow for our ‘Sparta,’ our kids).
Today was an exceptionally eye opening and tearful day. But, these weren’t tears of frustration, no, not like last night. These were tears of triumph, joy and pride. today I had an end of the year IEP meeting for C-Man. This meeting was actually called by me, I initiated it after a long hard debate on whether C-man would go back into public school. I was looking for alternatives, I needed him to have more in place so that he could have the high academics he craved, and still have the therapeutic and clinical environment he needed. I was frustrated after his last IEP meeting. They made me seem like I was coddling my son, like he was a troubled kid, not a frustrated one. He was struggling, I was being called constantly, and I finally felt like all my fighting was in vain, so I dis-enrolled C-man and started to home-school again. I was disappointed, but I was also relieved. He struggled so much and it was starting to affect his personality, my usually happy and caring child, became a morbid and dark child, full of anger and anxiety. No! this was not going to be the turn we took. So, after long hours of back and forth, pleas, cries and calls, I felt that his public school was not equipped for his needs, or they just weren’t ready for My child.
Over time, C-man started to mellow out, he became accustomed to our routine, and he did great. But, I knew that I wanted him to get the social piece he was no receiving, isolated here with mommie. C-man was home-schooled and now it was end of the year. We used an umbrella; so, our review was through them, therefore we merely needed to assess as to whether he was ready to return to school. C-man desperately wanted to show he had the stuff, and I knew he was capable of the academics. I started calling around and trying to find the correct avenues to get him properly place. I wanted him in a school that could cater to his learning style, his personality, his uniqueness. I didn’t want to place him in a special school, C-man is cognitive of his label and very aware of his differences, but he is a high functioning child, and hates to be placed in a box without an exit.
“Yeah, I’m not just like anybody else, but I am like Me mom, and I know what I need. It’s not to be set in a class with kids who can’t…” C-man paused as he thought a bit and seemed to drift into his own thoughts, possibly off topic, but then he came back to me and looked at me in the eyes, “I CAN, and I show it everyday, I just can’t explain how I get all the right answers.”
Right there, I knew, my son was unique, but so capable. He was able to verbalize what he believed and how he felt about himself. I was proud and I knew I had to advocate for him, just as he had done for himself, as we sat in the living room, in the dim light of the morning.
I continued my calls daily, I kept up the pace, and got the few I could on my side, C-man would be in placed, or get all the services he needed, so help me. Preparing for summer, I was planning for camp. Mind you, not all my kids are raring to do the camp thing, but mama needs some time this summer, and this Kra8yZeeBunch needs to give me space. So, I asked where and what…swimming won out most of the time. I asked who wanted to do sleep away, and 3 out of 7 said alright. But, C-man let me know right away,‘Not for Me.’
“Do you think you want to do camp?” I asked encouragingly.
“Yeah, I guess.” C-man fiddled with his Android phone.
“What type, swim, karate, sleep away?” I was hopeful.
” I’ll do camp, but hey, I know Me, I’m not staying there, I need a camp where I can come home everyday.” C-man answered in a nonchalant way, never raising his head from his MineCraft app.
“Ok,” I smiled, ” You know You,” I laughed inside because everyday this kid gives me more and more insight of who he is in there.
But today, I needed the public school system once again. I needed them to sign off and allow my child to be placed in a special program, in an alternative public setting, and to do so, THEY (his Team) had to approve and rationalize it. Holy Shit, this wasn’t going to be easy. I went in on the defensive, but I had gathered my research, I had delved into the therapies, I had student services and disabilities ear, at least. I went in and I was ready to fight, we had to discuss formalities, but then we dove in. C-man had tested gifted, he showed exceptional abilities, and as I relayed, since he’d been home he was doing both 7th and 8th grade work. The teachers who had previously had him all agreed, C-man needed academic challenge with some specific behavioral modifications in place. But, the consensus was, C-man needed to skip 8th and journey on to High School. He was ready. Maturity, Academically, and like he said he CAN, and I know he will.I left that meeting proud, they put all things I wanted for my child in place in his revised IEP. He would be reviewed early on in the year because a new environment warranted the fluidity and flexibility of the educators. They had to get to know this kid. Yes, he would learn in the least restrictive environment, he would be in public school, but he would have his needs met. I was relieved, elated, and I felt like, My son had a chance to make a future for himself.
Thanks for reading our triumph. If you need to know more about my ASD kids, continue to read, subscribe, tell your friends, and I will be adding more, so much more. I will be adding some older stories, archived history, and some really funny, I can’t believe that happened to this Kra8yZeeBunch type stuff. Tune in!!!!! But we aren’t just Spectrum here, we are a wild mix of nuts, so find out about Romeme’s escapades, what Spike and Hara get into and how MeiMei is becoming a dancing queen while Zai-Zai and Bue battle, “to the death!” Come on in! Welcome to My Virtual Reality Check!
Spike was talking to my mom at about 11pm. Asking innocent questions, while mom’s trying to sleep.
“Mom who’s my grandparents?”
“Bue and Poppop.”
“Who’s MiMi’s grandparents? And Hara’s grandparents?”
“Bue and Poppop?”
Mom cuts him off. “Bue and Poppop are all my kids grandparents.”
“Okay…Who’s your parents?”
“Bue and Poppop.”
There’s a moment of silence before Spike speaks again.
“What?” Mom groaned out.
“You just had tea. What else do you want?” She asks.
“I don’t know. Something to drink.”
“No. Something like a…sandwich.”
“You need to go to sleep.”
Silence once again fills the room, I hear mom begin to snore but after a few moments Spike, of course, breaks it.
“Can somebody walk me into Bue’s room?”
“Can you?” Spike continues to ask. “Can you, mom? Can you? Can yooooooooouuuu?!”
“Spikey, why don’t you just go to go sleep?” I ask.
“Why not?” I question him again.
“Cuz everybody keeps doing this….”
He doesn’t say anything, just breaths.
“Breathing?” I ask.
“No. Everybody keeps breathing on me.” ‘Didn’t I just say that?’
“Who’s breathing on you?”
“Mom’s breathing on me.”
He says nothing after that. So…I wait for him to talk again. But he doesn’t.
“Spike, are you sleep? Spike?” I call to him.
A moment later I hear my mom’s voice again.
“Mom, Is Spike sleep?”
“He’s not?” I ask, to make sure, since mom gets a little loopy when she’s tired, I never know what she’s trying to say.
“He tried to suffocate me.”
“What? How?” I ask, shocked.
“He tried to stop me from breathing on him.”
He doesn’t respond, but I just know he’s still awake.
“Spike, do you want me to stop talking?”
“Yes.” He replies.
“You do?” I don’t know how to feel about that.
“Yes.” He says again.
“Hmm?” I hear mom again.
“Nobody’s talking to you.”
“He’s patting my head.”
“Can somebody walk me in Bue’s room?” Spike starts whining, loudly.
“Walk him in Bue’s room. Please.” Mom begs.
“Oh my gosh.” I say, irritated. “You better stay with her too.” I warn Spike.
“I will.” He assures me.
“You better.” I say again.
I take him to Bue’s room and he gets her in bed. I guess grandparents are always there, when you need them most.
After Bue agrees to let him spend the night in there he turns to face me.
I turn around and leave the room. At least we can get some peace and quiet now….
So…My little brother is scared of clowns. Like REALLY scared of them…
It was night time and everyone was asleep.
The room was dark and Spike was laying in bed with mom.
“Mommy…” He shakes her, waking her up.
“What?” Mom asks, sounding half-asleep.
“Something’s scaring me.” He whines.
“What is?” She sounds concerned, until she hears what he voices next,
“Why am I scaring you?” Mom asks.
“Because…your eyes look like a clown…” Spike explains to her.
I’m a single mother and it has always been a challenge to balance things. ‘Single Black Females,’ with children, often have to struggle being both mom and dad. Some, however have father figures who step in, they remarry, get a significant other, or have a descent relationship with a guy who genuinely loves her child, or children. Well, this fairytale never happened for me. I can’t say that I have it any harder than any other mom, but I can say that I try my damnedest and I am sensitive to the fact that my kids have no father figure in their lives. Today was exceptionally heartbreaking, and though it seemed not to bother my son; and, he is no longer a little boy, I was so hurt that all I saw was my baby that I couldn’t console (though I know he wouldn’t let me anyway).
It all started with a chat. My son’s father contacted me via the infamous social network that puts us all in touch with those we may, or may not want to find us. I was hiding in plain sight, but still, I thought we had an understanding to stay away. I was wrong!Anyways, the other day he sends me a friend request. At first, I’ll admit it, I stalked his page like a cheetah about to jump on a gazelle, I wanted to see if he was ‘better,’ if he had got his shit together… because I refused to allow him to enter my kids’ lives again, if he was out of order. Well, it looked like he was on the right track. Job, marriage in tact, no jailtime, CHECK! So I allowed him to friend me. Dant Dant Dahhhhhhhh! It didn’t take long though. He asked the formalities, how were the kids,and specifically, how ‘His Son’ was doing. Right there, I was on the defense, the angry Black Female started to rise her Head and the Queen was about to beat her staff! Then he stated that he needed his shoe size, implying that he would buy a pair of sneakers, the black man’s answer to child support. WTF!? Did he think that 20 years of absence, 4 pairs of sneakers in those years, a sign off on an affidavit to affirm parentage, and a few calls was enough?!!!! Oh Hell NO! This just burned me up! I was seeing red! My son, a soon to be 20 year old man, in college, planning to be a biomedical engineer, about to work for the government and offered a internship at Johns Hopkins University is worth so more, he got here without you and yours, and you want to buy him some tennis shoes? OH My Freaking Lord, give me the strength not to hunt this man down and slap him! I couldn’t control myself. I went ballistic on this sorry ass, excuse for a father (I private messaged him and this is how it went):
Later, I told my son about the messages, the correspondence between his dad and I, and where I left it. He uncomfortably listened and tried to walk away. As I spoke and relayed the story, before I got to the meat and potatoes of it. He mouthed some explicative and rolled his eyes to the gods that be in a plea to not have a visit from this man, I had seen him do it many times before. It used to be the prayers for him to come and see him, then it quickly became the prayer for his father never to come again. Respectfully he listened, and then he opened up.
He stated, with all the truth of a man well beyond his years, “It seems to me that that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you and him.”
I looked at him baffled, as he continued.
“He doesn’t want to deal with me, he never did, anytime in the past if he did deal with me, it was so he could get to you, and that is what this is…”
“Well, I thought I’d just tell you because I told him to contact you directly.”
“But, if he does or you see him, I just want you to know exactly how I left things.”
“He won’t I won’t live on the hypothetical because it will never happen. I erased him. So…that’s that.”
He walked away and went upstairs and I sat in the kitchen mulling over the two conversations, I compared and contrasted how very different these two men were. I silently wept for my son. I was saddened for other sons who had grown up fatherless. I hurt for the mothers who bared the burden. I rejoiced for who my son was becoming, and what type of man he would be.
Kick Starter is a great way to get the word out on fresh and innovative ideas, and this one is worth it to me. I know the campaign ran in March, but we still need support for this educational project. Vincent Noot, Illustrator has put a lot of time and effort in creating a fresh idea that kids can have fun with. It’s great for homeschoolers, vacationers, day trips and just plan everyday fun. “Find The Cutes” Playtime is worth the support. Vincent was inspired to bring an educational piece of artwork to the forefront, for kids today.
What inspired you as an illustrator?
As a child, I was much intrigued by search books. I spent hours looking for the right characters and objects on every page. But I discovered there weren’t that many different ones out there. Over the years, I developed a unique cartoon style that I was able to use for several companies and assignments. Together with my ideas and the concept of a search book, my wife (then girlfriend) and I came up with a search book and a fun family as the main characters.
How did you come up with each page, and how long did it take to draw them?
Before each page, I brainstorm about as many creative, funny things that could happen. For example, I divided the Birthday Party page into section of balloons, ball pit, presents, etc. Children can be very silly. So I think of what they’d do with a balloon, like rubbing it over their hair, letting it go into the air, binding it to their ears, popping it, etc. Each page took almost 100 hours to sketch, draw, color on the computer, etc. Each person is hand-drawn and colored in Photoshop. My wife, Celestial, did most of the storytelling. The whole book took 1 year to finish. Some drawings are based on real events. Sometimes something funny that happened in our lives, comes back in the drawings. For instance, when I was dating my wife, we both took a bite of the same huge hotdog at the same time. So in the Swimming Pool page, I drew a boy and a girl eating a hotdog at the same time.
So why buy “Find the Cutes – Playtime?” Because it’s not a regular children’s book.
- It keeps you and your children entertained for hours.
- The illustrations look beautiful.
- It’s cute and funny.
- It’s educational.
What is “Find the Cutes – Playtime” all about?
Children are creative. They have a huge imagination. In society today, despite all the technology and opportunities, the greatest happiness is often found in the home. Children give families that extra enthusiastic energy. “Find the Cutes – Playtime” is based on that concept. It sparks the imagination, stimulates dialogue without words, educates, entertains, and inspires.
Who are the Cutes?
The Cutes are a family. Their last name is “Cute” and all the kids’ names start with a “C”: Carissa, Chaz, Cade, Cammy, and Cindy. The story is based on the “second-mom” phenomenon: As the oldest daughter you sometimes get to babysit your younger siblings a lot. That’s how it can work in bigger families. In every illustration I tried to show their innocence and playfulness.
Who is the book for?
Children ages 3 and up. Adults could enjoy it too. With 12 pages of things to search for, kids could be entertained for hours. Not only are we going to make a book, but we are planning on making it a tablet game for the ipad, kindle, and other devices. That will be a stretch goal if we make it.
Yes. We are planning on an entire series of 10 books The next book will be called “Find the Cutes – Festival Fun” and will have fun search pages about Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, but also about the Tomato Festival in Spain, Songkran in Thailand, and Sinterklaas in the Netherlands. It will also have 12 pages and a storyline. We already started working on it.
When will it be available?
The book is completed, so we now have a kickstarter campaign from March 1st until March 31st. This is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/92560380/find-the-cutes-playtime?ref=discovery. You can sponsor/back our project in those 30 days and get discounts that way. We are getting the website www.findthecutes.com ready for ordering, so we are in the process of getting the book printed and attaching a payment system to the website. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or personally to my account at email@example.com.
It’s never to late to support a great project. Let’s get more funding for this book and more great illustrations and innovative ideas to come from Vincent Noot. Thanks from us, and from all “The Cutes!”