Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Goodbye Uncle Jess

Last month my extended family said goodbye to my mom's older brother, Jess.

I imagine the reunion on the other side was glorious!  Mother, father, sisters and brothers embracing their son and brother after a long separation.

I  see Mom giving her big brother a hug, "welcoming him home."  Dad would be one of the first to give Jess a heartfelt handshake, followed by a broad grin.

I am sorry for my cousins' loss, but rejoice that Uncle Jess is no longer weak, sick or in pain.  He is happy and healthy, in the prime of his life.

How I love these people!  I mourn each passing as they slip from this existence.  I especially miss Dad.  I tear up looking at this picture.  His absence is sorely noticed.

This is the headstone of the two people who started it all!

Grandma and Grandpa's daughter, Aunt Myra.  She left this world way too soon.

Isn't this a beautiful picture?  They are all gone, with the exception of one.  (Mom is the cute red head.)  They are mostly all together.  Once again, Grandma has her children surrounding her.

"Grandma, we are a bit selfish in this earthly realm.  We want to keep June a bit longer. We know she is loved and her arrival is anticipated with great fervor, but we are not ready to say goodbye to another.  Thank you for understanding.  Love, Your Grandchildren." 

Monday, March 30, 2015


I haven't written for weeks.  I am overwhelmed!  I home school Eric.  Suze and Sydney come home from school, sometimes before Eric and I finish our school day.  I do homework with the girls.  It's time for dinner; and then we get ready for bed.

I lose myself in the minutia that whirls around me.  Step inside my house and my disorganization will slap you in the face.

My blog has nagged at me, but sitting down to write is one more thing to do.  Three family members asked me why I have not posted for so long?  They actually look forward to my blog.

I have dozens of pictures and stories to share.  They have sat idle in my computer and cameras, collecting dust.

I spent Sunday pondering and writing; downloading and copying.

Jordan, Julie and Charity, these posts are for you!  I hope you enjoy them!  Come back tomorrow to see what I put together.  Love you all!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Home School

Like all you mothers out there, my kids are everything to me.  I will do anything within my power to make sure they are happy, healthy and successful.

This year I took Eric out of public school.  Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would be a home schooling parent.  I didn't know what else to do.  My options seemed so limited.

Eric has always struggled with specific areas in school.  He is on the fringe for everything, never qualified for any special assistance.  It's frustrating.  Some parents don't want that help, afraid it will label  their children.  Then there is me, "please help my son!"  In the Utah public school system there are not enough resources for speech therapy, occupational therapy or anxiety counseling.

Every year Eric had well meaning teachers.  School officials promised me aid for Eric.  It never came.

I saw a frustrated, little boy in tears way too often. He brought home papers with zeros on them.  I only discovered these papers by rifling through his backpack.  I never received calls or messages from teachers advising me of troubled areas.

I worried about Eric.  I didn't know what to do.   Michael and I explored different options.  Nothing worked.  Meanwhile, I felt like Eric was getting more behind.

I finally decided enough!  I enrolled Eric in the K12 program.  It is still through the public school system, but with more resources.  I mentioned my concerns for Eric with K12.  They were the first to conduct a full workup on all academic areas with Eric.  He is now receiving weekly on-line speech therapy and anxiety counseling.  An occupational therapist comes to our house once a week to help Eric with his fine motor skills.  I am grateful.

Days are sometimes long and frustrating.  Five hours of school work for Eric usually means five hours of school work for me.  I guide him through every course.  I am the teacher.  We work together.  Sometimes we lose patience! Sometimes we need a break!   Some days are good and some days are not!   Some days I wonder what I did?   But I always know who I did it for!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Empty Ground and a Brick

A few days before Christmas my sister, Julie, called to tell that she drove past Dad's house and it wasn't there anymore.  The new owners had torn it down. We were expecting this, but it was still sad to hear.

Eric and I went over to the property on a cold, wet day.  There was nothing to see, but a big, angry backhoe ready to dig its mean mouth into the mud.

The house was completely destroyed, not even the cement walls of the basement were left standing.  There was no evidence left that Wally and Dixie Stewart had raised their family here.  Dad lived in his house at 12966 South Wheatfield Way for  close to forty years.  It was wiped out so easily.  The structure that held our "family story" was gone forever.  Time and time again, Dad resisted selling the house.  The acre of ground was too much for Dad; and the basement had major problems....but he still would not/could not sell his home.  Mom was an integral part of that home.  Selling the house was letting go of Mom a second time.  I felt it when the family sold the house.  It was like we were burying Mom and Dad all over again.  We had to say goodbye once more!

I had one mission on that day.  I wanted to find one brick, one brick to cherish.  Eric and I slopped around on the wet ground.  We were covered in mud.

We walked around to what used to be the back of the house.  I was quickly losing hope.  The workers had done a thorough job of removing everything.  Then I saw it!

I found one lonely brick.  I picked it up and held tightly onto it as Eric and I made our way back to the van.

I miss that house, not because of the actual brick and mortar,but because of the people I have lost inside that house.  And even though I know it is gone, when I drive past I can't help, but turn my head in that direction, hoping I might see the house again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Will...

     "Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." 
Albert Einstein

 I can't think of a better way to describe my life over the last few years.  I complain that I don't like the way I feel or look, but I don't do anything about it.  I don't maintain a regular exercise routine. I have shoved more than one candy bar into my mouth.

I constantly brood over putting pen to paper, but I never follow through with an idea.  When I sit down, I become so overwhelmed with the project in front of me I shut down.  I want to write, I'm not sure what format that takes, but the desire is there.

It comes down to one fact; I am afraid.  I fear that the fruits of my labor will produce a drought.  What if nothing changes?  What if I do my very best and my situation does not improve?  I know that is every one's fear; and I admire those with the courage to still persevere and move forward with their goals.

I worry that I delude myself.  What if I am a horrible writer?  What if no one cares?  What is my drive to write?  What if I can't make anyone feel anything?

We are twelve days into the new year. I realize that this year must be different; it cannot be like last year or the year before that.  New Year's is one of my least favorite holidays.  There is a reason for this.  With every new year, I contemplate the goals I should have started 365 days ago.  I  struggle with how little progress was made. I believe a big reason we are here on this earth is to become better people.  I fail to move forward when I am in the same place, mentally or physically.

Please don't mistake this post as a plea for compliments.  I am not feeling sorry for myself.  I know that I am a good person, but I also believe that I am capable of so much more.  I owe it to my family and myself.

I don't want to be on my death bed, full of sorrow for the hard things I did not even attempt.   
"I can do hard things."  Elaine S. Dalton

....And so this year I will do hard things.

I will take the time to care for myself.  I will exercise.  I will eat right!  

I will write!  Keep me on track!  My goal is 10-15 pages a month.  This seems like such a small amount, but it is an obtainable goal for me.  If you want to read my work and give me an opinion, leave a message on facebook or email me at littletotsbigideas@hotmail.com.  I will choose up to 10 people to look over my writing.  I want to know what you think!

I don't promise to be perfect,but I do promise to try harder than before.

But then of course, Yoda said, "Do or do not...there is no try!"

What about you?  What will you do to make this year the most fabulous year ever?

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Ornaments

Every holiday season I add more ornaments to my already overstuffed tree.  I love the look of ornaments nestled deep in the branches among the colored strings of lights.

I gave the ornament with my dad's picture to each of my siblings. I miss him every single day!  His spot is empty and is visibly noticed.

Suze's dolphins swing gracefully in the tree.  They are perfect for my dolphin lover.

Eric chose Darth Vader, wielding his deadly light saber.  I am thrilled that he and daddy both share a passion for Star Wars.

Syd couldn't wait to give Mom and Dad the present she made at school.  How cute is that face?

Suze was very surprised when Grandma gave her the One Direction ornament; surprised that Grandma even knows who they are.  Doubly fantastic that it also plays music.

My tree does not have a theme.  There is no color scheme.  Every ornament tells a story...and that story grows bigger every year.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Music and Her Spoken Word


Michael and I were lucky enough to see Suze display two of her talents over the holiday season.  The unlucky part was both were scheduled for the same night.  Suze had a piano recital, followed by her short film Slay Bells in the Dark Christmas Film Festival.

Suze performed a beautiful duet with her best friend.  You can see part of the piece in the above clip.

I had tears watching my not so little girl move her long fingers gracefully across the piano keys.  I was so proud of her.

Immediately after Hark The Herald Angels Sing, we left to screen Slay Bells.

Suze had the support of Aunt Charity and Aunt Julie.  Charity even showed the movie to her sixth grade class.  Might not have been the best thing.  One student got so scared,she began to cry.

Every piano playing, lead actress deserves a bouquet of flowers.  Mom and Dad will always be her biggest fans.

Suze with her director, Coco Barth.  Slay Bells won the Best Christmas Message award.

Suze's friend, Sklyer, also had a movie in the festival.  Suze has met some incredible people working in films.

Suze would not leave until we corralled the film production crew to take a photo with everyone.  Every time she has the opportunity to work on a project, Suze feels like she has added to her family.  She gets very attached to the awesome people she meets.

If you haven't seen Slay Bells yet, you are in luck.  Enjoy the six minute video.

First step in Suze winning actress of the year.