Mission Statement

To provide a place for parents and family members to meet and share experience, strength, give hope and awareness, to other families who have similar experiences raising children with ADD/ADHD, SPD, Anxiety, ASD, mental health diagnosis, developmental and behavioral challenges. Through sharing in this experience of raising these hard to raise kids, we grow stronger and more resilient.

Easy to Love is a 501 (C) (3) Non-Profit Organization

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Favorite Things Thank You

We had so many wonderful people contribute to this amazing and fun event! First we want to thank our group members who attended! You all went above and beyond putting together some amazing 'Favorite Things' for the party! We all left with some great tools to try and some great ideas! Thank you for putting so much thought and effort into this, as well as bringing yummy snacks to share!

Many local (and not local) businesses contributed to this event by providing give-aways!

Lindsay from Lakeshore spent a lot of time putting together a puppet craft for us to make for our children. Thank you so much for putting together the craft and for the lakeshore goody bags!
Lakeshore has a lot of great items in their store (a timer, great fine motor & more) that can be very helpful for our kiddos! Click HERE for information on the SLC Lakeshore store!

Designer of special needs toys, autism toys, and teaching special needs children equipment - including occupational therapy.

Fun & Function
This non local company has been an AMAZING support to our group! We are so grateful for all of the amazing tools they sent for giveaways. A massage frog, chewies & lizard fidgets. Fun and Function is our favorite site for special needs tools. They have amazing products that are all very well priced, PLUS you earn points for the things you buy that you can use towards future purchases. Click HERE to visit their site!

Lil' Flippers
This amazing gymnastics center is located in Kaysville. They even offer special needs classes. Lil' Flippers donated free class passes for each of our Davis County Members, they also donated a free month of tuition for a giveaway. Click HERE for information on their class and pricing options!

The Little Gym
The Little Gym
The Little Gym in Salt Lake also jumped right in and happily donated a free class to all of our Salt Lake Members as well as a free month of tuition as a giveaway. Gymnastics are great for sensory kiddos! Click HERE for more information on their class and pricing options.

Kangaroo Zoo
A big Thank You to the Kangaroo Zoo (A favorite place to get the wiggles out)! They donated 5 free passes for giveaways as well as $2.00 off coupons for all of our members! Click HERE to visit their site!

Get Air Trampoline Park
Talk about a great place to take the kids who are cooped up going sensory crazy this winter! Fun! They were very gernous and donated 5 free passes to giveaway, as well as a party for 15 people! Click HERE for more information!

Tiffany Trimming
Tiffany donated some doTERRA lavender oil for everyone to try on their children. Lavender is an excellent anxiety & stress reducer as well as helping with sleep. Click HERE to visit her site on facebook for more information and upcoming oil classes. You can also contact Tiffany @ 801-721-5478

Bobby Lawrence Karate
A big Thank You to bobby Lawrence karate in Centerville. They donated a free karate party as a giveaway. They have experience working with children with special needs and are very warm and understanding. Click HERE for more information!

Hope you all have a very wonderful holiday season & we will see you at our regular groups after the new year. Looking forward to the new year and a lot of exciting things coming up for Easy to Love. 

Lindsay, Jennifer & Chrissy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Favorite Things Update

Hi everyone! December is creeping up quickly and we are only a couple weeks away from our Holiday party! We are so excited for this event & hope you are too.  I know we already did a post with the details and ideas if you are having a hard time thinking of a favorite thing to bring. Click HERE to visit that post!!
Here is a quick overview:
Date: December 12
Time: 7-9PM
Place: The Sharing Place
1695 E 3300 S SLC
All of our child care slots are full
Spots are filling quickly but we have extended our RSVP date, do let us know as soon as possible!
Carpooling available for Davis County group members (Just let us know in your RSVP)
To attend you need to bring 5 of a favorite tool for your child. They cannot be over $6 each, can be homemade or something small that works for your family.
Please bring a refreshment to share.

Here are a few things that will be happening. Lakeshore learning is bringing the supplies for us to make phone number bracelets for our kids to wear (just in case!). They are also bringing some gift basket items to do drawings. We have free special needs gymnastic class passes for everyone for both a Salt Lake area gym & Layton area. Fun & Function has sent items to raffle and doTERRA has as well. So along with getting 5 items from other parents, each of us will get some fun bonus'.
We have limited spaces, so we need RSVP's ASAP! It is going to be so much fun and really useful as well. Jen, Chrissy & I are looking forward to seeing a lot of you. Please email or visit our facebook page to RSVP!!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Favorite Things Holiday Party

Utah Easy to Love Favorite Things Holiday Party.
Date: December 12
Time: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Place: The Sharing Place
1695 East 3300 South SLC
Limited spot available!

Davis County - Due to the crazy of holiday we decided to do one holiday party and needed a location that could accommodate everyone and child care! If you would like to ride up with Lindsay or Chrissy please let us know with your RSVP, we will be doing pick ups at Learning Solutions. 

The Details: 
Pick a favorite special needs tool that you use, if you are still working on deciding what works & doesn't work for your child you can pick something that you want to try. It can be homemade, simple, store bought. Get FIVE of that item, remember it cannot be over $6 each! 

When you arrive you will put your name 5 times into a bucket (if you brought your items as a couple, put your name in as a couple as well!) Each person will get to explain what they brought and will then draw 5 names. Everyone will leave with 5 new tools to try with their kiddos. On top of the 5 things you get, we have been able to get some super great donations from  businesses that everyone will get, as well as some bonus' that we will be doing drawings for. 

If you are struggling coming up with some ideas, here are a few that are linked to our pinterest page. If you decide to do one on the list, let us know with your RSVP so we can cross it off the list! That way we aren't getting duplicates. 

Sensory Balloons 
Close pin animals (fine motor tool)
Sensory bag
Bean Bag Toss (gross motor, motor planning, weight)
Time out Bottles
Homemade Floam (sensory)
Pencil Grips 
Silly Putty 
Finger puppets
Wooly Willy
Feelings puppets 
Stickers (fine motor)
Bath Paint
Koosh balls 

Safety Scissors (Emma could cut paper for an hour! :))

There are some other ideas on our Pinterest page HERE!  Again, these are ideas! Do what works for you! 

The Holiday count down begins... 

*make sure you are signed up to receive our newsletter (top right corner)!*

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sensory Processing Disorder

Jen & I decided to do a little two part post about our children's struggles with Sensory Processing Disorder to go along with Octobers Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness month. In this post we will each talk a little about our sensory kiddos & some things that helped!

Visit the SPD Foundation for some great resources. 

Emma came into this world unregulated. From the time she was born, she fussed and cried, didn’t like loud noises, crowds, the car seat … and the list goes on and on. Now there were significant medical struggles, but I had never seen a baby so “rubbed the wrong way” by everything. I used to say that if she had it her way she would have stayed in the womb forever! As time went on and we got somewhat of a handle on the medical issues (at about 18 months) I started to put 2 and 2 together and realized there was something more there. Early Intervention started doing OT in our home for feeding therapy, this OT quickly realized we were going to get nowhere with food issues until the sensory stuff was dealt with. That was the first time I heard the term, being the mommy that I made a mental note and later hit Google. I was shocked at the amount of information there was on “Sensory issues”. A few weeks later we had an “official” diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder and started more intensive Occupational therapy. That all seems like a lifetime ago! We are currently on a  hiatus from OT, have done swimming lessons (which works wonders for Em) and I have tools that help with some regulation. Here is Emma’s Sensory profile: Emma is a “sensory seeker” when it comes to vestibular & proprioceptive input. That girl N.E.V.E.R stops! She is like a piggy tailed version of the Tasmanian devil!  She is also an oral sensory seeker, which totally explains how I ended up the human pacifier while nursing. Emma is a sensory avoider when it comes to touch (especially if she is not expecting it), sounds (the mall is torture), smells, and clothes (socks, tags, to tight, itchy, etc). I have tools to help - chewy’s, weighted blanket, we opt for a lot of cotton clothing, swing, ear plugs and A LOT of physical activity. Emma does dance class and swimming lessons and we have kind of adapted to this not so conventional norm. Even with these tools, some mornings are downright painful. All of her clothing feels “weird” or “itchy”, it sounds like a torture chamber in my bathroom when I am combing her hair and getting her in the buckle in the car seat feels more like a game of Twister. We have days she is much more easy going and days that everything and everyone bothers her. Days that she can sit nicely and color or watch a show and days that she is literally jumping off the stair landing onto the couch over and over! I have learned to adapt over the last few years, it still isn't easy but having some answers does help. I know what tools usually work for Emma and I can pull out my “Sensory Aresenal” and get her something to help. SPD is not our only issue, but it is one of the big ones. I have learned when other things are “off” the sensory issues seems to get worse (sick, hurt, anxious) and that I need to step up my game & plan for the worst. I encourage anyone with a child with sensory issues to do at least some OT so you know your child's sensory profile, what could help, triggers etc. Keep your child active and put together your own “Sensory Arsenal”. On the topic of special needs items, lets just say OUCH! I am always shocked at the cost of some of this stuff. There are a few things that I pay for because it is worth it, there are some thing that I tweak and find alternatives. Chewies are one thing I just pay for, I did try alternatives and they just were not the same for her! Fun & Function is a great website for special needs tools, they have pretty much anything you could think of and their prices are actually much more affordable then anywhere else I have looked. I also love that you earn points when you order than you can put towards future purchases. Now, if your curious, here is some of the things we keep in our arsenal.. 

Super Chews
Chewy...  we have it at ALL TIMES!  She uses it when she is stressed, tired, or needing oral input.

No-Spill® Bubble Tumbler®
Bubbles are great to facilitate deep breathing.
Weighted lap pad. With us always & great for car rides.

Play dough. I don't take this out & about with us but it is great for some sensory input at home
Moldable ear plugs, I half them and they fit perfect in her ears. 
Stress balls - Emma calls these her "mad ball" great when angry or for some input out & about

I use this for both of us... it is a great calming oil by doTERRA. I keep it in a roller bottle and Em will put it on herself in the car or somewhere she is feeling anxious or out of sorts.

I hope that provides a little insight and help to some of you. SPD continues to be a roller coaster and something we have to plan for and work around daily! 

Hi - It's Jen.  My story is a bit similar, but Hudson did not come into the world un-regulated.  Hudson was sweet and calm and loved to be swaddled.  In hindsight, that was the only way he slept without me.  He did not nurse too long, but when he turned about 18 months we started having loads of problems with clothing.  Hudson would scream for 5 minutes per item of clothing.  Each sock was a chore and when it was winter - forget about it! He also was hugely sensitive to food textures and hot and cold. He would not eat without gagging and would often throw up because he overstuffed his mouth and could not move the food back.  This was a huge source of anxiety for me because my other son was a great eater and Hudson wasn't not growing.  We started getting OT in house and then through a clinic. I learned about Hudson's sensory profile too.  

Hudson is also a sensory seeker and loved proprioceptive input, the more physical the better - tickling, flipping, swinging and wrestling are his favorites.  I discovered that I never had screaming fits about clothing when it was bedtime.  This baffled me for a while, until I remembered our routine.  He always had a bath, or a shower at night.  He was getting loads of input on his skin!  So, we do lots of physical stuff and lots of skin compressions to get him calm and regulated.  I also know that everyday - even today, when I put his shoes on he is going to scream that they are too tight!  But I am trying to let him scream about it for ten minutes.  If he can wear it that long usually, it subsides.  So, we get dressed early. Sometimes we even shower in the morning when it's going to be a cold day. I will often just pick him up and carry him to the car so his feet don't have to be so squished in his shoes.  By the time the drive is over he is ready to go. When he's anxious we use a quiet corner and he uses a weighted lap pad.  We use gum in the car and he is all about distraction of iPhones and iPads.  It seems a bit weird at first and believe me I have gotten my share of looks and criticism about walking into a store, putting my 4 year old kid in his stroller and handing him headphones and my iPad - but it is what he needs and what we need to do to get through the day and get things done.  I too have my arsenal.  Even though I have all of these tools, somedays it just doesn't work.  Now I also know that Hudson cannot decipher the sensory input that is coming into his little body and it's o.k. to leave the store or errand to another day.  

I know Hudson will always have sensory issues.  Luckily, in many areas they are improving.  His food preferences are still narrow, but improving.  OT helped us a lot, as did, swimming and horseback riding.  We want to know what works for you?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holiday Flyer

To Register for Child Care, complete the forms below & email them to us at utaheasy2love@gmail.com
Guidelines & Liability Waiver
Registration Packet 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Helicopter Parenting

A few words about the term "helicopter parent."  Wiki defines helicopter parenting as... a colloquial term for a parent who pays extremely close attention to their child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions.  I always considered it a positive to be "involved" with my kids, now it's so negative.  My parents were much more concerned with parties in the 60's and 70's - I wanted to do things differently, now that's not o.k.  The thing is...I would like to not be as involved, not hovering, not reminding, but after a year of my older son being bullied in Kindergarten - yes, Kindergarten!  I decided to pay more attention.  So, on the first day of school when my kid begins to wrestle with some other kids, I stood there, trying not to panic, and I watched these little boys, one in particular, get more and more aggressive and I watched my son say to them - STOP, but no one is listening.  I stood there and then I couldn't take it any longer.  I went over and told this little boy, again that he said "to get off." "I heard him clearly, now get OFF!"  The kid just looked at me horrified. I think he is still terrified of me.  Is this what they mean?  Am I a helicopter parent?

Am I a helicopter parent? My kid is loosing sleep at night about making friends and is crying at night because he thinks he's bossy and all of the two friends he's made want to play soccer and my kid is scared to death to play sports because he basically becomes a target?  Which is heartbreaking if you have been there.  I kept it very simple, but that's because there are no words.  I shudder to think of what his social situation might be if I don't intervene now.  Lord, help me in Junior High. So, I asked the teacher if she had noticed this and what she plans to do about it? She asked me if I had had some play dates?  I have.  In fact, I have had several.  So, I waited some more and went into see the school counselor.  I asked if she would be holding a social skills group this year? She told me that they usually do this for Kindergarten age kids.  I insisted there was a need.  I just want him to have other options at school.  Maybe the library?  Maybe the hall monitor?  Lunch helper? Teacher helper?  Chess Club? Something that gives him a positive roll and fosters some other activity.  I am awaiting her response after talking to the teacher.  Uugh.  I hate the term - Helicopter Mom.  I want what all Mom's want - there kid to be happy and healthy, surrounded by a group of people who see what great traits he has.  Is that so bad?  Jen

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cutting the Strings

My son is 12 and just started JR. High! I can't tell you how many nights I have laid awake and worried what will happen to my sweet child.  So I pulled back and thought, prayed and studied this thought and here is what I have come up with. Cut the Strings now! What? How can I cut the strings he needs me I do just about everything for him.... Then my husband sweetly reminded me that this is what we have been working so hard for. We have been taking him to counseling, therapy, tutoring, working with diet, regulating meds, Karate etc. So he will be able to have all the tools to stand on his own two feet when it is time. Now is the time to cut the strings let go and let him sink or or swim! If he fails in 7th grade it might hurt but then he might try harder. So I decided to cut the strings. 

The night before his first day of school he has panic attack that he will do something wrong and that I will come and rescue him and that all the kids will think he is a mama's boy. I tell him that no matter what I won't come to school unless he is about to die! Then we come up with a Plan B if things don't go right.  We both go to bed and don't sleep. I send him off the next day and he came home alive and happy! We survived the first day. The next day goes well but then he informs me that he doesn't know which bus to take and that he just gets on one and he luckily had gotten home each time! How is this ever going to work? 

Now we are half way through the first term and my son is getting all A's and B's. He has forgotten a few assignments but I am now letting my son take care of it. We look on the school assignment tracker everyday when he gets home. When something is missing he works on it until it is done.  He is not allowed to play with friends or video games until everything is done. If he is not sure what the assignment is because his mind was else where and he honestly didn't hear it. He sends an email to the teacher and asks what he needs to do. 

I am now teaching him how to do it on his own and not depend on me to do everything. We have been able to talk about facing fears and talking to adults. We went to parent teachers conference yesterday. It was a great opportunity for him to explain to the teachers why he isn't always listening. They worked together to figure out how to better work in class. I assured all the teachers that as his parent I will be around to set rules and standards to support them with getting his work done. I also let them know that we are working on letting him stand on his own two feet. His teachers where amazing. I could tell that they were truly impressed with my son and respect him for working so hard at trying to strengthen and cope with his weaknesses.

I recognize that we still have a long road ahead and that my son will always have weaknesses to over come. I still worry about what the future will bring and how he will do with life, love, work and family when he is an adult. Letting go a little has helped me to worry a little less and have more hope for the future. 

Cutting the strings and letting go is one of the hardest lessons that I have had to learn on this journey with my special son. I have loved him more than anyone else! I have been his advocate all these years! Their is nothing that I wouldn't do for my son. The important thing to remember is the reason I am doing all of this is so that he can learn to go out into the world on his own and succeed and have joy and happiness in  his life. True happiness comes from living up to our full potential and believing in our self. I am so grateful to be his mother and feel so much joy in his success. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Utah Easy to Love Fundraiser

We did it! We planned, organized & pulled off  our first fundraiser and it was amazing!  We want to send a HUGE thank you to the community & local businesses for all the donations of food, items and time sent our way. We were amazed with the positive & giving responses we received. A big thank you to Nick & Melanie our amazing chefs who worked so hard to make both Friday & Saturday nights absolutly amazing. We would also like to thank our family and friends for their continued to support, and a huge and grateful thank you to those who attended the dinner, sent donations and well wishes. Also, a big thank you to those who volunteered their time to serve, wash dishes and clean up.

Nicholas Fahs- Chef
Melanie Dunbar - Chef
John Dearmin
Ali Barnes
Stephanie Boyer
Jennifer Pia
Becca Lucas
Melinda Hill 
Mark & Nancy Anselmi
Michael & Susy Freed
Wasatch Meats

Beehive Cheese

Uinta Brewery 

Harmon's Grocery (City Creek & Station Park)


Eiffel Towers Fine Catering (Glasses) 

Place setting, menu & thank you 

Auction Table 

Cheese Course  

The Chefs

Jennifer - Co-Founder & President
Lindsay - Co-Founder & Vice President 

Jennifer, Lindsay &
Chrissy Young - Davis County Coordinator & Secretary 

Here is the Information for the Spa Fundraiser... 
Macaroni Kid and The Rejuvenation Center in Layton is Hosting 
Mac Mom Pamper Night 
October 11, 2012 
6-8 Pm 
The Rejuvenation Center
101 North Fort Lane #101A
 , Layton

Cost $15 Includes:
-Body Sculpting
-Eyebrow Waxing 
-Glitter Toes 
-Hair Up Do
-Velata Fodue Chocolate 
-Yummy treats and more!
All services are being donated so don't forget to bring a little extra money for tips.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Child Guidelines & Child Care

We wanted to touch a little bit on our Facebook post yesterday. We want to explain it a little more than is possible in a Facebook post. Our meeting format is designed for parents and caregivers to come and not only have support, but also to be able to vent when they are at the end of their rope. This meeting is about us as caregivers and we want everyone to feel comfortable to share their struggles. So here are the child guidelines for Utah Easy to Love -
*No child under 18
*Young infants welcome if they are still in the carrier, but we do ask that if your baby becomes a distraction that you leave the room to calm them down.

That being said, we completely understand the stress and hardships of finding an appropriate sitter. So, we would love to get some feedback on child care. Last year we set up free child care after several parents emailed us from Davis and Salt Lake, letting us know it was needed. We wrangled up some volunteers and got liability paperwork printed and ready to send out. We posted here on the blog and on facebook that "Hooray! We now Offer Child Care!" and no one signed up. We kept the child care option open for several months with no response. After 4 months we decided to drop that as a service. SOOO, we are about 8 months later with a lot of new members- How do you feel about child care? Would it make it easier to attend? Be more of a stress having your child there? Please let us know! We are more than happy to work on getting it set up again, we just want to make sure it is a service that would be utilized.

As Easy to Love grows, our goal is try and meet the needs of our families. We are working on some different ideas to do this. One idea we would love to get some feedback on is a group for your older "Typical" kids (ages 12 up). A group would be set up for the same time as the parent group. It would be overseen by a social worker, this is so the group remained a healthy environment but still a safe place for your kids to let out frustrations. Is this something anyone would be interested in?

We are going to need a lot more feedback in the coming months- We have a lot of plans and things in the works and want to make sure they are something that fit your needs. You can leave feedback on facebook, here on the blog or if you rather give private feedback send us an email {utaheasy2love@gmail.com}. We are so excited and looking forward to expanding and offering different resources to our growing Easy to Love community.

Jen, Lindsay & Chrissy

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Fundraisers, Giveaways, Groups, Oh My!

What started out  as Starbucks chats about our kids and the need to find a support group to join, led Jen & I to laughing at that same Starbucks a few months later after several people told us we should "just start one" of these non existent groups...and now, here we are! We are finishing up the Non-profit paperwork process with the goal of having all the loose ends tied up by October. We are already growing and reaching more families, we have hosted a retreat to celebrate our 1 year mark, managed to do a sewing class/community service project (with another in the works!) and are now putting together a fundraiser dinner for the end of September. I really am still flabbergasted at how much we have managed to accomplish! Our Starbucks giggles are still there, but now it is giggling about the fact we did it, I think we still both have some disbelief at how far our group has come! We are so grateful to all the support we have received from the community, our families and friends, and most important the support from our group members! We started tiny, but you have stuck it out.

Fall is here! So we thought we would post some reminders and changes!
One big change is a little adjustment on our name. Due to logistical issues when getting set up as non profit, we have changed from Easy to Love, Hard to Raise, to Utah Easy to Love.

For our Salt Lake Group everything as far as scheduling and location are the same. Groups start up again September 12th.
The Sharing Place
1695 East 3300 South SLC
2nd Wednesday  the month 7-8(ish)pm

Davis County Group starts again September 19th. There are a few changes, I think we have already announced them but here's a reminder.
New Location- Learning Solutions
347 West Gordon Ave #2 Layton
Same schedule- 3rd Wednesday of the month 7-8(ish)pm
Chrissy Young will be helping out a lot with this group. Jen & I will still be making an effort to attend, this will just help us be a little more flexible.

*Changes you will see at both groups
We now have to start out the meetings reading our group guidelines, these guidelines will help us get the most out of our groups. Also, we will make sure there is a copy of our Bylaws available for anyone interested to look over. They will be set out with handouts or other information from our group. We will not provide everyone their own copy (it's many many pages) but if after you look it over you feel like you would like to have one, let us know and we can get it to you.
If you have questions about these after the group, please let us know.

Giveaways & Advertising
Many of you may have noticed that we have been working to incorporate giveaways into our group. We feel like it is a fun little bonus and are excited that we are able to do it. Most of our giveaways will be coming from donations, this means we offer advertisement space on the blog to help compensate. We feel like it is totally worth it, but want to make sure everyone is in on the recent blog changes! I know I did a blog post in the summer touching on it as well, but because it has become more of a reality since then I thought I would put it out there. On a side note, a HUGE thanks to Chrissy! She has been a rockstar and working hard reaching out to our community to get a lot of exciting things in place!
Stay tuned for more giveaways, we have some fun things in store!

We have been posting a lot on our upcoming fundraiser. We are super excited about this event and how much it will contribute to our group and what we are able to do! If anyone is interested, the dates are Friday September 28th and Saturday September 29th. Dinner is $45 per plate which includes a 3 course meal, including dessert and wine, prepared by two recent graduates of The Culinary Institute of America. You can contact Jen with any questions or to reserve tickets @ 801-532-1412.
We are also coordinating and putting the finishing touches on another event. I am not going to spoil the fun, but I am going to say is Pampering, Mamas night out & a crazy good deal!
Stay Tuned...
One last thing, we would love some feedback on an idea we have been throwing around. We are thinking of putting together an Easy to Love call tree. People could list their numbers, emails and what their child struggles with. We would put together a contact sheet for everyone, that way there are people to reach out to that totally get it. There are two reasons we are thinking about this, The most important is that our goal is to build a network of parents who can support each other. The second is that it has gotten a little hard to manage the calls coming in. We LOVE LOVE LOVE chatting with you, it's just getting hard to juggle it all. Let us know what you think!
We are super excited about all we have coming up! As always, if you have any questions, concerns or ideas, feel free to shoot us an email! Utaheasy2love@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's Giveaway Time!! {closed}

We are so Excited to announce that we have 2 massages to giveaway! Like Jen talked about in her post HERE, taking care of yourself is vital for our well-being! All mom's tend to put themselves after their kids, husband, community etc. Being a mom is time consuming and requires a lot of our time and energy, add a special needs child (or more than one for some of you) and it is tenfold. Along with the duties of being a mom, we are running 10 different directions to various therapies, social skills, doctors, your own research and more. One of the big things I think both Jen & myself focus on when talking about our group is that it is OK for us to put our needs somewhere AT LEAST in the top 5!   That is why we are so excited to offer 2 of you a little bit of pampering, who couldn't use a massage?!
To enter, go to our Facebook Page and share it (You also need to "like" the page if you haven't already!). Once you share it, you can either leave a comment on this blog post or on the facebook link. In the comment let us know that you shared the page and what the last thing you did for you was!
UPDATE- winners announced!
Rochelle Otteson and Mandi Gandelman! Email us your information!

101 North Fort Lane #101A
Layton, UT 84041

We want to send a big Thank You to the Rejuvenation Center who donated the gift certificates! Click HERE to visit their website and learn more about other great services they offer!

The giveaway ends Thursday at Midnight and the winner will be announced Friday!!
Ready. Set. GO!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Taking Care of Yourself

When we first got our diagnosis for Hudson, I went through some pretty serious grief, but also I was in full time action mode, to fix this problem of ours.  So much of my time was focused on him; running him to and from therapy preschool, speech therapy, occupational therapy, swimming lessons, pediatrician visits, play therapy, trying to invent a food he would eat, not to mention reading every book on autism and treatment that I could, in the 10 minutes before I fell asleep.  In my every waking moment I was focused on Hudson. 

In the beginning of diagnosis it is so easy to become headlight focused on helping your special needs child. My whole life had changed, so much so that I was feeling like I was loosing who I was.  I am zany and artsy, a music lover and a cook, a friend and a lover to my husband, someone who loves to laugh and give things the light touch - and I had become SERIOUS!  I no longer danced around in the kitchen or listened to music loudly in the car, with the windows open and arms in the wind, because Hudson was so sensory he did not like the loud noises. I distanced my self from my friends, because they did not really understand and my kid could no longer have a "normal" interaction with their kids.  I no longer went into to stores or establishments with Hudson because of the potential of a meltdown. In essence, it was like living on an island.

I realized rather quickly, that this SERIOUS person was not helping the situation.  I was exhausted, bitter and short with everyone, because the well was empty. I had nothing left to give to anyone.  Before it was too late, I had to take some contrary action.  Below is a list of the things I do try and do for my self that fill me up and allow me to be the Mom I want to be and the person that I was meant to be.  Now that said, I am human.  I do not do these things perfectly all the time.  As I sit here and write this, I am not at a particularly balanced point, with the summer ending and the changes and different responsibilities that the start of school brings, I have let much of my personal nurturing go by the wayside.  Awareness is the key, right?

1.  I sought therapy.  Having a therapist help me to deal with my grief and fear about being a special needs parent was the first step.  Sometimes therapy does not have to be with a licensed therapist.  It was for me in the beginning, but therapy now comes in talking to the friends I have made in our group that understand my new "normal," writing, or talking to my Mom.

2.  Exercise.  For me that means strapping on my running shoes and running for 30 minutes in my neighborhood I try to do that 2-3 times a week.  Exercise has been proven to clear my head of the negative self talk and vastly improves my attitude.  Plus it is something I do just for me.

3. Dates. Scheduling regular dates with my husband, gives me something to look forward to.  I was getting so caught up in my kids and their lives, that I was forgetting why I even liked him in the first place.  Taking time out away from our kids allows us some adult conversation and a chance to reconnect.  Jim and I try to have a minimum of 3 dates a month.  Now, if you have been tasked with being a single parent, this still applies to you.  Make an effort to have a solid date with friends or solo doing something you really love or even something you used to love to do for 1-2 hours.

4.  I try to treat myself once a month.  It might be spending time reading all the magazines on the bookshelf at Barnes and Noble. It might be a new dress. It might be time with a new book.  It might even be, dare I say...a pedicure.  I am worthy of those treats.  I deserve them and I have earned them.

I recently posted a YouTube video link on Facebook from Elizabeth Aquino. If you have not yet seen it, I have included the link below. She asked families of children and young adults with disabilities, looking back, what they might have told their old selves, on the day their child was diagnosed. Some of the ones that resonated with me were, 

Ask for help

Look for beauty and joy

Don't let your world get too small

Don't forget your other children, they need your attention too.

Make friends that understand your "new" normal.

Best of luck.  Let me know what you have done for yourself, however small.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Things have been a little crazy around here lately and there are changes a comin' to add to the craziness! Emma has been off kilter the last couple months. Her anxiety has been up and she is not sleeping well, we have a 9pm summer bedtime & she is staying up until the 1130-1230 range. Em is averaging about 7 hours of sleep a night with the occasional "catch up" night that she sleeps in. I am sure part of her issue is that she is not getting enough sleep. 
Of course not all days are bad, we have days or parts of the day that things run pretty smoothly. The major problem is that she is set off SO easily which, going from playful & happy to screaming, raging and attacking.  After meeting with her pediatrician we looked at her medication. It has made very little difference so her primary care suggested weaning her off the medication over the next month. She will be medication free for the first time in years.
**  Just a little history- our PC is amazing and knows & understands all of Emma's little quirks. She has been there from the beginning and I 110% trust her and her recommendations.**
When Emma was put on this new medication by her Med Manager a few months ago, her other medications were stopped. This included her sleeping medication with the goal being that this med would help all of the struggles in one little pill. Unfortunately that did not happen.
The next suggestion by our PC was changing from the Children's Center to Primary Children's. While Em's therapist at the Children's Center is absolutely amazing, I have not been thrilled with med management and developmental assessment end of things. There has not been great communication, differences in diagnosis & it feels like Emma has been falling through the cracks. We kept going because I didn't want to bounce her around and I really wasn't sure what direction to go if we left. Now that we have been referred to PCMC I really do feel like this is the right choice for Emma. I need her somewhere that everyone will be on the same page & will communicate not only with me, but Emma's pediatrician.  That all being said, I am still very appreciative for the positives the Children's Center has had on Emma. Their preschool program made a huge difference & like I said we really do love the therapist.  Our first appointment at PCMC is in the middle of September, we are keeping Emma off medication until that appointment so the doctor can see what her baseline is and can make decisions from there.
So those are our medication struggles. We are taking things day by day, hoping things get better and really not knowing what the next few months are going to look like. Anyone who has been here? Ideas welcome!!

Emma is starting school the week of Labor day, I decided not to put her in our local district special needs class. Emma was in that class from Jan-May of last year after graduating from the Children's Centers preschool. All I can say is YEASH. It was ran terribly, there was no communication with parents & virtually nothing that was remotely academic. This year Emma is going to a home run preschool with a woman I have known for many years. Miss Lizzy owned a preschool/daycare before taking some time off to go and finish her degree, she now has a degree and is starting up again. I am nervous though, it is going to be a lot more of an "uncontrolled" environment than she is used too. Realistically most kids don't get overloaded by normal noise, some toys & bright colors so that is not an accommodation a regular preschool needs to think about. But along with the scary unknowns, I do know that Miss Lizzy is so sweet, hands on and FUN! There is great communication (If you can't tell I have a MAJOR ISSUE when I am not communicated with!!) I have already received Emma's school calendar &  daily schedule, and Emma got a Welcome card in the mail. Liz already knows that Emma has some special needs and seems more than happy to help make this a successful school year for my little bug.

Our Major To Do's

Get Emma settled in school
PCMC appointment with accompanied behavior log & stack of paperwork
Put together a list of realistic goals for Emma to meet this fall (I come up with goals every season)
  ** HERE is our summer goals.
Get Emma back on a structured schedule - Our summer schedule has been super lax & it shows big time!
Put together our visual schedules
Get my Home Management Binder back in order 

So this is where we are. Things feel a little upside down. I am feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated.  I am hoping that once we get into our routines things will settle down. Fingers crossed!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Big Thank You's!

Photo: Had a successful weighted lap pad class!! Thank you shauna donating your time & home for this project!!
We wanted to post a few Thank You's to those who made our first Weighted Lap Pad class happen.

A Big Thank you to Brooks Fabric for donating adorable fabric & to Ben Franklin Crafts for donating the filling. We were able to get a good start of putting together weighted lap pads for local school OT's. We are excited to get them done and out into the community!!

Also a HUGE BIG Can't Say enough Thank you to Shauna who welcomed us so generously in her home sewing classroom and helped us make this happen. She was so sweet and helpful, and willing to do it again! :)

We are so excited about the places the group is going, there are a lot of fun things coming up and having partners from the community supporting us makes it so we can reach more and more families.


220 North Main Street  Bountiful, UT 84010
(801) 295-2941

354 North Main Street  
Kaysville, UT 84037

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meet Chrissy....

Chrissy is our new Davis County Chair, she will be doing most of the logistical work for Easy to Love's Davis County groups. Jen & I will still be actively involved but will probably alternate coming. This will make running and managing Easy to Love as a whole much more manageable! Chrissy is going to be a wonderful fit and asset to the group. She is spunky, fun and energetic, and has already done so much to help our group grow!
Here is a little more about her!! 

Chrissy Young has been married for 18 years and is a mother of 3 boys ages 12, 9 & almost 5! Family is her number 1 priority and she loves them so much.
Discovering her oldest son had ADD, Anxiety, Depression & some OCD six years ago really frightened her. She just wanted to be able to give him the world and have the world love him as much as she does. She would lie awake many nights wondering what to do?... Medicate or don't medicate? Strict diet or not? Therapy or no therapy? Label my child in school as different or not? The list goes on & on.
Chrissy decided to educate herself on everything to help her son cope & exist with others. She learned to listen to the very important mommy voice that truly does direct moms to know what is the best for their child.
She has learned so much from so many good friends who are going through similar situations. They have loved & supported her through many hard days, nights, & cries. 
Chrissy loves people! She is passionate about being an advocate for her children, building a better community for them to live in, & giving back or paying forward all that so many have done for her & her family.
Chrissy is excited to help the Easy to Love, Hard to Raise parent support group in Davis County. "I Love that it is a support group for any parent struggling with a difficult child whether diagnosed or not. Parents need other parents to help figure out & support one another. I am a true believer that it takes a town to raise a child. What a great way to help others & be helped in return."

So along with Chrissy being Davis County Chair, we are also moving the location of our Davis group. While we are very grateful that DBH so willingly accommodated our group, we feel like our new location will be a better fit. It is only about 5 minutes away from our previous location & still in Layton. 
Learning Solutions
347 West Gordon Ave. #2 Layton
Groups will still be help the 3rd Wednesday of the month 7-8pm
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns!