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

Friday, February 15, 2013

Trying to stay on top of it all

This post has morphed over the last couple weeks I have been working on it. It originally was suppose to be a post on organization, especially for our special needs kids. I feel that being organized is an invaluable tool to stay on top of the mountain of paperwork, appointments etc. that our kids have. As I worked on the post it became more of a personal story of the struggles over the last few years. I decided that despite things beyond my control I wanted to be happy. So here we go!
Let me start this post by saying that I am not a therapist, parent expert, happiness expert, organizing or life expert. I have found a system both in my home and for me that helps me stay on top of this crazy life both physically and emotionally. I am happy. Not every day, not all the time – but in general I am happy with the life I have created for myself and my daughter. It’s not easy and I have days that I just want to throw in the towel, but I work hard to keep myself, my home and my priorities in check. There are more times than I would like to admit that my bathroom goes a little longer than it should without being cleaned and my room looks more reminiscent of Monica’s (from Friend’s) secret closet than an actual bedroom. Don’t even get me started on the endless mountains of laundry! Bottom line, I have 20 things going on any given day. From Emma’s school, dance, appointments, illnesses and play dates, to my list of maintaining a home, schedule, work, support group, family and trying to eek out some mommy time. I constantly feel like I am going 10 directions and am trying to keep the juggling act going.  Being organized helps me feel in control and keep on top everything we have going so I & most importantly Emma don’t get overloaded. Having a place for schedules, IEP paperwork, school contact, babysitter info etc. makes life just a little easier. For me, my Home Management Binder is my life saver. It keeps everyone coordinated and all the important paperwork in one place. In one book I can go over our weekly schedule, menu, needed groceries, school stuff and budgets all in one sitting. It’s a time and sanity saver. I have always enjoyed organizing and got a little too excited over a new day planner, but things fell through the cracks in a huge way after having Emma. Here’s a little story of what it took for me to check in on myself and my life and how the glorious Home Management Binder came to be. ..
Emma was a sick and very fussy baby. She slept 4ish hours and we had constant ER visits, doctor’s visit and the eventual feeding tube. I was getting 2-3 hours a sleep a night and my marriage was all but over. I was stressed, tired, miserable and my life was in shambles around me – both figurative and literally. The house was a disaster… like embarrassed to have anyone come to the door disaster. I looked and felt a hot mess and sort of just existed. I was 110% invested in Emma’s care, but let everything about who I was go. I was not the fun, talkative and happy person I once had been. One day, I was watching a couple little girls, my brother (he was 4 at the time) and of course Em. I was feeding Emma in her highchair, I turned to take a few steps to tell the kids to stop this or that and Emma went out after me. I was literally a foot away when she landed on the floor. (Side note: no judgments needed on the seatbelt end of things… I thought since I was going to be right there it would be fine. After this – she was strapped in tight even if I was sitting there with her). Emma hit her head and I immediately called 9-1-1 in absolute hysterics … inconsolable crazy lady hysterics. By the time 4 ambulances, 3 policemen and 2 fire trucks arrived Emma was done crying and was hanging out no worse for the ware. They told us to take her to PCMC to be checked out, but thought she looked fine. I however, was far from it. I remember sitting in the ER room as they observed her. Emma’s dad was there, he had moved out but at that point it was a “take a break and see” type thing. As Emma slept in my arms I spent the time thinking about all that had happened. How was this my life? This is not even close to what I imagined it would be. I am unhappy, tired and frazzled all the time. My house is a disaster and I don’t know my behind from my elbow. Right then and there I decided to make some serious changes.  I spent the 4 hours Emma was being observed making a mental list of all the things I needed to get in order, when I went home I wrote it all down. This was my actual list; I have just added the explanations.
#1: Make a final decision on marriage. We were both miserable, wanted completely different things and fought all the time. This was not something I wanted Emma around and I felt that I deserved to be happy as well. The decision was made and paperwork was filed about a month later. I have not looked back since and am without a doubt sure I made the right decision for my family. #2:  Figure out a home management system. This is when I came up with the binder. This was pre-pinterest so I just had to wing it!  It is broken up into: schedules, menus, home, Emma, Lindsay, Family.
.#3: ORGANIZE EVERYTHING!!!! This one took me a while. I had to focus on one area of the house a week to work on. I would spend 30 minutes a day digging myself out of the nuttiness I had let happen.
#4: I need ME TIME. This was easier said than done and still is, but I have found I am better mom and person if I have just a couple hours to myself.
#5: Get out of the house & do fun things. The kids were happier, I was happier and we were making some fun memories, even across the street at the park or on a nature walk. Sometimes it is still SO MUCH WORK I just don’t want to go anywhere but I found for us this was one of the most important changes I made for our family.
I also set goals - I have a both a family and personal mission statement and set seasonal goals which are divided into “FAMILY GOALS”, “PERSONAL GOALS” & “EMMA’S GOALS”. We don’t always meet all of our seasonal goals, but we are always working towards them.
It took a scary situation to knock me out of my life funk. I have to “check in” with myself every so often when I feel myself start to get crabby or overwhelmed. It’s been 4 years since then and I am still working hard to stick with those goals I set in PCMC ER. We have had many ups and downs since then with both Emma’s health and development. Having all of her information organized and pulled together has been an invaluable tool in our journey. I can quickly thumb through her history and give medication dates or side effects, let the GI know the days she had a stomach ache etc. In the end this leads to more thorough care for Emma.
I do want to finish up by saying; I am not in any way trying to be on a soap box. I know that everyone copes with things differently and everyone does things differently. We are all working so hard to help our kids and keep on top of everything. My only hope from this blog post is to let people know that I have and continue to have struggles along the way. I work hard to try and be the best mom I can, but sometimes feel like I am losing my mind or failing as a parent. This group has been such an amazing addition to my life. I have formed wonderful relationships with people and have a space every month to share the struggles. 
*If you are interested in more on “the binder” J Feel free to email me. I am happy to share templates and pintables! Just email me at utaheasy2love@gmail.com

Friday, February 8, 2013

Early Intervention

I recently started a journal where I write a letter to each of my boys. It has been a way for me to document their struggles and mine and makes me feel like someday when they are older they might read it and understand some of my parenting struggles and learn from them. I have been reluctant to blog lately, because things are going so well. I felt as if it was wrong to flaunt our achievements with Hudson in the face of so many others who might be struggling. I was reminded of the reasons I started this group with
Lindsay. I just wanted to hear some hope. If anything, our story is a story of the importance of early intervention. We have participated in family therapy from the beginning, therapy preschool, speech, OT, Play Therapy, Social Skills, Yoga, U-FIT, Pingree Soccer Clinic, Special Ed. pre-school, Dance, and now skiing. Intervention byany means possible is vital to your special needs child’s success. This is a letter I wrote to Hudson today.

Saturday, February 2, 2013
Dear Hudson,
You are so amazing! Me and your Dad have worked so hard since you were diagnosed with Autism in October of 2010. It is now the beginning of 2013 and while you still continue to struggle with some things, you continually surprise me with your love of life, your joy, your humor and your drive. I decided early on that my job was to stretch you - not unlike Ray Charles’ mother depicted in the movie “Ray,” who made it her mission to teach her son how to take care of himself and survive in the world despite his disability. Not unlike Temple Grandin’s mother who did not cower to the restraints that Autism placed on her daughter. She took it on as her mission to celebrate her daughter’s unique vision and teach her how to interact with the world and survive despite being a
woman and a person with Autism.
As parents, I believe it is our duty to recognize interests or strengths in our children and expose you to those things, so that you can truly find a passion and a direction in life that you love.
When you were first diagnosed, I cried forever about all the things that I thought you were never going to do. I thought you were never going to have “normal” play-dates with friends. That you would never dance or play sports with all of your sensory issues. I cried because I thought you would never interact with a teacher and give enough of your attention to learn and I cried because I thought you would never communicate without aggression. I cried about all the birthdays and holidays we would have to downplay because it was too much for you. Not surprisingly, crying about it does not get you very far.
As of today - February 2, 2013, I am proud to say that you have had birthday parties with friends. You now love Christmas and Santa. You have participated in a soccer clinic and sports and you love watching football. You are now in a public school regular education classroom with over 15 students. You have had 3 play-dates with a “regular” kid from your class. You are enrolled in “Hip Hop” Dance class - that you love! You talk about your feelings when you get mad. You have had 3 ski lessons despite your sensory issues and you are skiing!! That truly is a miracle. You are not a quitter.
I thank God, that I am also not a quitter. Me and your Dad know you are going to do great things, with great love and passion for life.
Love, Mom