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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holidays, changes and time off!

Tomorrow we will celebrate the holiday season at our annual Christmas party and are so excited to see everyone attending! We filled EVERY SPOT! Wowza! It's going to be awesome. After tomorrow Utah Easy to Love will be taking the remainder of December off to spend time with our families through the Holidays. We will make an effort to answer pressing questions or concerns, but may be slow in our response.
A recap of the year...

Our art program with UMOCA was amazing! We will be meeting with Jared and their educational director to work out a schedule for 2015! Stay tuned.

We had an AMAZING turn out for our special needs Easter Scavenger hunt, and even better feedback. We cannot wait to do this again for our awesome families!

Super fun giveaways on Facebook... more to come in 2015

E2L held our 3rd Annual parent retreat in Kaysville, this will continue being an annual event but we will be making changes to the format. It will be better than ever!

We held our biggest fundraiser to date! Our first annual charity glow ball golf tournament at Swan Lakes golf course was a HUGE success!

Had a fun day indoor rock climbing with SPLORE (stay tuned for another round!)

Held an awesome clothing drive for families raising children with special needs, everyone was so awesome in helping us spread the word and get donations together. We were able to help a lot of families get ready for the winter season! Big thanks to KONA karate for their sponsorship and help pulling this together.

We lost one and gained one. Co-Founder and President Jennifer Levy moved to California the beginning of December. She will continue on the board and be involved from a far - but we will miss her. We also added Angela to the board as well as the position of volunteer coordinator/ community liaison, she has been an amazing addition to the group and has stepped up and in to her role with Utah Easy to Love - gun blazing!

Angela put together Easy to Love's first Sub 4 Santa program this holiday season. We were able to help two families and are finishing up this week! We are so grateful to those who have pitched in for these families and cannot wait to make this a yearly program.

So there you have it! It's been a busy and awesome year and 2015 is going to be even better. Watch for additional board members, a new website, awesome groups and activities and more!!

We hope you all have a warm and happy holiday season.

Lindsay Bartholomew
Jennifer Levy
Chrissy Young
Angela Mitchell

Friday, October 17, 2014

Clothing Drive to Benefit Local Families Raising Children with Special Needs

Utah Easy to Love is hosting a clothing drive October 13 - November 5. We are collecting new and gently used men's, women's and children's winter clothing, coats hats and gloves. We are also accepting cash donations to purchase things like socks and underwear. As special needs families we spend thousands of dollars of therapies, medical bills, special needs tools etc. and for many of us there is just not much left over for other basic needs like clothing. Utah Easy to Love wants to help families who are tight to have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.

We will be hosting an open house November 8th for families to come and get the items they need. If you or a family you know (they must be special needs) need a little extra help please contact us for more specific information.

Please contact Lindsay Bartholomew, E2L Program Director with any questions. We are happy to pick up donations outside the Davis County area, or donations made by local groups or businesses.
Donations can be dropped off at KONA Karate Mondays - Thursdays
Centerville - 136 West Parish Lane between 4-830pm
Kaysville - 340 North Main St. between 4-730pm

Cash donations can be mailed to Utah easy to Love or done on our website under the 'Donate' button, please specify 'clothing drive' in the notes/comments box.

All donations are tax deductible and 100% of donations will benefit local special needs families.

A big Thank You to our Sponsors -
KONA Karate (& to their students for helping us spread the word and gather donations!)
Ability Station
Macaroni Kid Layton

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Golf Tournament Thank You!

Utah Easy to Love was able to raise $3000.00 to go directly to the families we serve. Funds will be used for 2015 groups, workshops and family events! We are so grateful to all those who participated, came to help and those who donated! It was an awesome success and we cannot wait until next year!

Gold Sponsors                                                 Silver Sponsors
Macaroni Kid Layton                                      Kona Karate
Strong & Hanni                                               The Rejuvenation Center
Swan Lakes                                                      Integrated Learning Strategies
Legacy Pediatric Dentistry

Thanks to our Hole Sponsors
Dr. Defay Orthodontics
Flippers Gym
Uinta Golf
Chase Marketing
Lawn Doctor
Habit Burger

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Utah Easy to Love Charity GlowBall Golf Tournament

Night Golf for a Great Cause!
Join us for Glowball golf tournament to support a great cause! 
Be eligible for awesome prizes and raffles!

Swan Lakes Golf Course has teamed up with Utah Easy to Love for,
The First Annual E2L Glow Ball golf tournament!
100% of proceeds will be donated to Utah Easy to Love.

Date: September 13
Time: 6:00pm
$50.00 per player – This package includes dinner, green fees, one glow ball and one ticket to the prize drawing. Prepayment is required to guarantee your spot in the tournament.

If you haven’t played in one of these tournaments before, you don’t know what you’re missing! This is a fun date night, girl’s night, guy’s night or friend’s night!

Sign up now before it’s too late, limited spaces available!
Swan Lakes Golf Course – 850 N. 2200 W. Layton - 801.546.1045

Please visit the links below for registration and sponsorship information!
Click HERE for the PDF flyer
Click HERE for Registration information
You can pay online at http://www.utaheasytolove.org/
Click on Donate and put Golf registration in the notes.
Or Mail your registration to:
Utah Easy to Love
Attn: Tournament Registration
953 2nd Avenue, Salt Lake City Ut 84103

Utah Easy to Love's Mission:
To provide a place for parents and family members to meet and share experience, strength, give hope and awareness, to other families who have experience raising children with ADD/ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mental Health diagnosis, developmental and behavioral challenges. Through sharing this experience of raising these ‘easy to love, hard to raise’ kids, we grow stronger and more resilient.

Utah easy to Love is a 501 ( C ) (3) Non Profit organization EIN # 38-38829838
– all donations are tax deductible.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

To the Mom who Said my Child Doesn't Care...

Dear Mom Who Said my Child Doesn't Care:

I can see how she can come across that way to those who don't know her, she can seem distant, distracted and aloof. I know that she needs to leave play time frequently for a "break" and that there are times she is trying to control peers. I know all of these things. I understand they make things hard and that not everyone will understand her quirks.

Here is what I also know. She is one of the most loving, open and accepting children I have ever met. She will play with the child sitting alone.  She will give the best hugs and kisses, loves to snuggle and hold hands, and the people in her world are everything to her.

 She feels everything deeply and more than most of us. The entire world of sounds, smells, feelings and more are coming at her at full force all the time. The result? Sometimes over the top reactions, needing to leave when everyone is still playing, yelling and acting out. I was open and honest with you. I told you where she struggled and how you can help make things easier. I trusted you with her well being at play dates and even attempted a slumber party. Silly me. I should have known that even though you said you understood - you didn't.
As a mommabear myself, I understand feeling like you needed to protect your child and watching her have hurt feelings was tough. I am just wondering in what world you thought that "fixing things" was coming to my house and not only unleashing your verbal spewing on me about all the things "wrong" but looking at my child and making sure she was clear your were talking about her. Emphasizing each word "there is something wrong with you" "you don't care about anyone" "You will NEVER get to play with L again". Congratulations. You just bullied a 6 year old.

Did you see her face? That child you so clearly think doesn't care? Because I did. Heartbreak. Fear. Confusion. If you would have been a fly on our wall you would have seen the tears. You would have heard her asking heartbreaking questions and crying that no one ever wants to be her friend. You would have heard her begging to go say sorry, make it right and that she will never take a "break" again.

I had to level with my 6 year old and explain to this Innocent sweet little princess that there are bullies out there and that they are not always children. I had to tell her that even though I know she loves playing with your little girl, that things would be different. I had to take a little piece of her innocents and break a little piece of her heart all because you chose ignorance that day.

 I will admit. I am still so angry and hurt for my little girl. Angry that she felt like she needed to apologize for being her. Angry that you pulled her in to something that could have been discussed reasonably between the two of us. Just ANGRY. But I am working on moving on, we are moving forward and learned a lot from this experience.

I am hoping you have too.

mom across the way

Monday, August 4, 2014

Utah Easy to Love Charity Golf Tournament

Utah Easy to love is hosting a Glowball golf tournament with Swan Lake Golf Course. Proceeds will go directly to Utah Easy to Love to help with expansion, resources, groups, parent training and more.
Raising funds for our much needed group and the services we provide, is of the utmost importance. The National Alliance on Mental Health Report states that between 2009 and 2012, states cut a total of $4.35 billion in public mental health spending from their budgets. Therefore, the money must come from local support and fundraising.

Please visit the links below for registration information!
Click HERE for the PDF flyer
Click HERE for Registration information

Monday, July 28, 2014

August Group - Back to School

i am so. ready. for school to start. seriously. so ready. summer has been really rough, the lack of routine and structure is not a good thing for em. but then panic sets in because school is a struggle for emma. she is also starting at a new charter which frankly i am not 100% sure is going to be a fit, but last year was so rough that it's worth a shot. i am in planning mode to get ready. reviewing her iep, deciding on a schedule, putting together intro letters for her teachers and setting up meetings to meet with her teachers, tour the school etc.

this months group will be focusing on preparing, making sure your iep is up to date, communicating with the school etc.

8/13 Salt Lake Group     7pm
8/20 Davis Group     715pm

Child Care is available for both groups but must be reserved in advance. Please visit our Child Care tab for additional information, waivers and guidelines.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Retreat Thank You

Thanks to all the awesome families who attended the parent retreat this year, and for the help cleaning up! It was a great bunch and we all had an awesome time getting to know everyone a little better!

We want to give a big THANK YOU to the community donors who made this possible!

Station Park Costa Vida for the yummy food!

USU Botanical Center in Kaysville for the beautiful location

Petal Pushers Nursery
For the adorable flowers everyone got to take home

We can't wait until next year!

Jennifer, Lindsay & Chrissy

Monday, May 5, 2014

Surviving Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with summer.  I love the idea of the pool, Popsicles & playing with friends. Summer has taken on a little bit different meaning over the last couple years. How do we keep the learning momentum going? What programs should we do? Two years ago I loaded everything on. Swimming, horseback riding, Occupational therapy & physical therapy. I also felt the need to feel the in between time with enriching and engaging activities. By the end of summer I was WIPED and so was Emma. It was too much to keep up with. Last summer in an act of what could only be compared to teenage rebellion, we were lumps. Seriously. No schedule. No therapy.  Very few "enriching" activities. It was mostly the pool in the front yard. It was boring and L..O..N..G. The lack of schedule created chaos for Emma. Her anxiety was OFF THE CHARTS high.
What I learned - BALANCE.  I need to work on it. It doesn't have to be 24/7 super mom and tons of activities. There can be structure and schedules without being overloaded. That's my goal on this fast approaching summer. I am constantly talking myself out of adding another activity to the schedule. We will keep bedtimes (other than a few extenuating circumstances) close to the same time, make sure she is getting her 3 meals a day and packed snack/drinks to keep off the "hangry" behaviors that creep up if Emma is even a little bit hungry. There will be a mix of structured activities and down time. Balance. We will be doing Occupational Therapy & Horseback riding (which her dad will be taking her to on their visit). We are debating swimming lessons. As much as we love Miss Betsy it is a long drive, a lot of time & a lot of money. We are holding off on girl scouts and making sure that we have one scheduled at home day.

Organization. This is key for keeping me & Emma in a good place. I have a binder with calendars, menus, fun activity ideas, coupons for various community going ons & envelopes for cash to fund these activities. This is what keeps me sane. For Emma we will be re-implementing the visual schedule at home. She has one at school, but we haven't had one at home for a while, I think carrying something over that is used in school will help ease some of the stress of change.

So that's our survival plan. I am sure once it is here we will have to make some adjustments and tweak things that are and aren't working for us. I have attached a sample of our weekly schedule. This is one of the things I keep in the binder. Again, this is just a sample and there will be wiggle room, I just wanted to give an idea of our basic day. If you want a 'This Week' to print for yourself let me know: ) I can email it to you as a PDF. You can also pop on over my my 'Summer 2014' Pinterest board for organization, schedules & activity ideas. Click HERE.

Let the count down begin...


Monday, April 7, 2014

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt / Easy to Love Fundraiser

Who avoids the crazy Easter egg frenzy? Our family does - they are NUTS! Hundreds of kids dashing for 50 eggs with minimal supervision. The inevitable melt down because "I Only got ONE egg!"  No thank you. It puts me into sensory overload, I can only imagine how Emma is feeling. It just isn't fun for us but we always feel like we are missing out. Jen, Chrissy & I decided it would be fun to do a Special needs friendly Easter event. The kids will still get some fun little prizes... plus meet the bunny, get their face painted and listen to fun stories! It will be an organized and fun & hopefully much less stressful for our kiddos. A bonus... this even will also help us raise money for operating costs to run the group (i.e. copies, rent, family events), $5 per child and $18 for families of 4 or more.
Come check in at our table - we will be in front of the fountain across from the Cinemark!

Due to the fact that we are trying to keep this an organized and low stress environment we are asking that you please RSVP! We are only making space for 50 kiddos! To RSVP you can call 801.532.4331, email us at utaheasy2love@gmail.com or visit our facebook event page HERE.

A BIG thank you to Farmington Station Park, Lil' Flippers, The Habit, Brighten Jewelry, Safe2Help, Macaroni Kid & Ability Station.

A couple unrelated reminders...
**This month group topic is Summer! We have an awesome resource list for everyone! Click the 'Schedule' tab for date/time/location.
**Our awesome giveaway for hitting 400 likes on facebook ends tonight! Make sure to head over there to enter!!

Please feel free to email or call with any questions!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

"The Orientation" Part 4

We are on to #4 in this blog series, if you haven't read the previous here are the links.

#4: Get some type of organizational system in place for paperwork. There will be all kinds of paperwork. School paperwork, evaluations, therapy notes etc. On any given week I am bombarded with papers about Emma & this was even more extreme in the beginning of our journey.  I started things out with piles of paperwork in 10 different spots & I always felt like I was digging for important things  before appointments. Finally after a "ah ha moment" (which I have referenced HERE) I decided changes needed to be made and there needed to be something in place to help me stay on top of everything.
I got a small accordion file to start, they are in the dollar spot at Target. This file is just for Emma. We have tabs for: Medical, Developmental/mental health, Occupational Therapy, Education & Receipts. In the front I have a folder with her Insurance cards, any notes/questions for upcoming appointments and a list of current medications & dosages.  I found when I started using this I felt more in control & doctors/assessors/therapist seemed to take me more seriously. I wasn't {as} frazzled and sitting trying to remember information that they were asking for - I had it with me. Emma's file goes to EVERY single appointment we attend, I also recommend keeping a small notebook with it as well. I always makes sure to jot down notes from appointments for reference.

My super cute chevron file from Target dollar spot!! It's my constant companion - from parent teacher conference to medical appointments! 

There are a lot of other organization tips/tricks I have and use to keep things running smoothly, but this was and is still my most valuable tool for our home.

If you have any questions or need ideas for organizational tricks for your home I am happy to answer emails - utaheasy2love@gmail.com. You can also visit an old blog post Jen & I did with the systems we use in our homes HERE.

We only have 2 more posts to go in our series! Stay tuned for Part 5 - Self Care!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"The Orientation" Part 3

Hey All, as I was talking about in Part 1 & Part 2 of this blog series, I decided to put together a blog series basically of things I wished I would have known early on. Things to do, questions to ask and treatments to seek. We will pick up with number 3.


#3: Deal with sensory issues. I know this was a HUGE struggle for both Emma & Jen's little guy. Daily tasks of getting dressed resulted in reactions that sounded like the kids were being cut with glass. Going to the store was a meltdown inducing outing and the wrong food texture would result in gagging and projectile vomit. Good times.
Probably 99% of the parents that have come to our group have a child struggling with SensoryProcessing Disorder to some degree and ranging in what is affected. Emma is a "Sensory Seeker" in most ways. She never sits still, needs to chew things contantly, climbs, jumps, twirls, spins. She also has had avoiding behaviors. It used to be mostly around textures that she touched and ate & clothing issues like sock seams and jeans. Now it is mostly sound but she still struggles with the way certain clothes feel. First on our list was finding a good OT. Not all OT's are created equal and they general have areas of focus. When you call to schedule make sure that the OT they are sticking you with understands and treats Sensory Processing. They will first have you fill out a sensory profile assessment, talk to you and work with your child to get the entire picture. From their they will create a treatment plan which will include how often you are seen, what they do while you there and put together a "sensory diet" for home and school. I cannot even begin to tell you how much this changed our life. Knowing what helped Emma regulate gave me invaluable tools to help her. We put a swing in her room a couple years ago and this is still something she will use to calm down, we made a weighted lap pad to help her focus &/or calm down and always have a chewy on hand.
Seriously, I cannot say enough about OT!! I have attached links to certain terms and put the two places I can personally recommend for OT.

PrimaryChildren's Rehab is who we have used for the last 5 years for everything from feeding therapy and OT for both sensory & fine motor. They are amazing, pretty much take all insurance and are always willing to work out payment options. Their staff are the best of the best.

Easter Seals - Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain (they are located in The Children's Center in Salt Lake City). I have not personally used them for regular OT but Jen has, as well as friends of ours. They have been very happy with their work. Insurance is a little trickier, but I do know they are working on adding more plans and offer sliding scale. I did do their "Wiggly Worm Sensory Processing Disorder Class" with Emma. It was a wonderful program for both me as a parent and Emma. It is offered a couple times a year.

We got our swing at IKEA, it was a fraction of the price of "therapy" swings. But there are other types of swings like a Lycra huggy swing that could easily be made for a lot less.

We made a weighted lap pad - again, all about saving some money! There are directions HERE

Chewy's are our very best friend! They calm down, save her clothes and her fingernails!
**Abilitystation.com is a locally owned special needs website, they donate a percentage of sales to Utah Easy to Love**

Other things that have been helpful - ear plugs, gum, fidgets, bubbles for deep breathing.

Sensory Processing Disorder is tough, it affects the very basic day to day things we have to do. It is also always changing. Things that bothered Emma 2 years ago have evolved and changed. There are things that don't bother her anymore and new things that have started bothering her. Getting a handle on this and knowing how to accommodate has made a huge difference in our journey.

Mark your calendars for March 12th (Salt Lake members) & March 19th for Davis County. Our Support group topic is “Sensory Processing Disorder” and we will have an OT presenting and answering questions. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"The Orientation" Part 2

Hey All, as I was talking about in Part 1 of this blog series, I decided to put together a blog series basically of things I wished I would have known early on. Things to do, questions to ask and treatments to seek. We will pick up with number 2, written by Jen!

I wanted to participate in Lindsay's orientation posts and add a few thoughts to #1 -   It was so vitally important that we find a "medical home" pediatrician for Hudson, because that led us to OT, Speech, Social Skills groups and many other services over the past few years.  I have said this before, my whole life felt like it had been turned upside down and my community was no longer my community.  I had to find my "new normal."

With that we move to #2:
 I have to put my pitch in for finding a support group.  Everyone needs community.  Some feel comfortable in a specific diagnosis community and they are out there - Autism Speaks, CHADD, Utah Down Syndrome Foundation,  In the case of Lindsay and I - our kids did not fit any one "ism," they had multiple.  We searched for a group that had a variety and did not find the right one, so we started one. However you find one or start one is up to you, but do not give up on that concept!  It has been the single most grounding and freeing experience of my life.  Within our autistic home; with it's nonsensical rules and rigidity, it is sometimes the only laugh I have had all week.  Nothing is more freeing that belly laughing about the chaos that ensued when your child did not understand the sarcasm of a friend and ran screaming epithets in a crowded restaurant (true story).

Utah Easy to Love - meets monthly in Salt Lake City and Davis County.  We hold monthly activities for families, we have this blog, a Facebook page, email, and a phone line.  Reach out!  Tell us your story.  We get it and we want to be there to support you through this time.  It does get better.  It may never be easy, but it does get better.
With love and laughter,

Stay tuned for part 3...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

"The Orientation" - Part 1

Jen & I have often talked about when we first started chatting after meeting at the Children's Center. Both of our kiddos (who are only 2 days apart) had started attending the preschool there about a month prior to us first talking. At that point I was pretty checked out from things that were going on around me and completely focused on Miss Emma and her medical and emotional care. I had seen Jen there,  and for a brief moment my once super social self had thought maybe I should go say hi. I didn't. I continued sitting in the waiting room reading whatever book was recommended at the time or walking past her in the parking lot. Thankfully Jen ripped off the band aid and came over to chat, honestly I don't know that I would have with the space I was in. Chatting at the Children's Center soon turned to Starbucks runs while we waited for our kids to get out. Jen jokingly asked if there was some type of orientation and for a minute I wondered if I had in fact missed something! We have now been traveling this path for a few years now. I would never claim to be an expert because everyday is different, but we have picked up a few things along the way.

We talk a lot about the "what next". What do you do after your child receives a diagnosis, or even before when you are trying to figure out what is going on. There is no orientation packet or guide to what the "plan" is or should be. There is also only so much you can plan for. So I decided to put together a kind of orientation. It is just a guide of things I have learned on the way, that have helped or made things a little easier. I am not a professional by any means but I know that if someone had given me even a few little nuggets I would have been really really grateful for not having to learn it the hard way!
Because life is so crazy I will be breaking this up in to a few difference posts, that way its more manageable for me and for others to implement. Please leave comments or feedback and let me know if there is anything that you want more information on!

#1 - Have them formerly evaluated. I started with my pediatrician who was monitoring Emma closely. As she got a little older and things got more complicated we were referred to the Children's Center for therapy, meds and preschool. We were also sent to the Child Developmental Clinic for assessment. I was lucky with my pediatrician being the head of the "team" and making sure were were doing what we needed to. If your pediatrician is not on board or listening to your concerns it may be time to look for someone who listens to you and your concerns.
  ** If you are looking for a pediatrician it is super handy to have one that practices the Medical Home Model. Just ask them, they know if they do! Basically they are the team captain who oversees everything from mental health, specialists, school, Therapeutic services. I can't even tell you  how valuable this has been for us.

The Children's Center (therapy services for children under 7)
Child Development Clinic
Clinic 6 University of Utah
Neurobehavior HOME clinic 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Utah Easy to Love & UMOCA

We are excited to announce our partnership with Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and the upcoming events that we will be co-hosting! Jared at UMOCA has put together an amazing program for our ETL families. It will be a judgement free zone filled with art and acceptance.
This event will be held every other month of 2014 on the third Saturday of the month at 11:00am. This is a FREE event but we would like a general number of those who will be attending. If you are interested please email us at utaheasy2love@gmail.com or call us at 801-532-4331. We are so excited and look forward to seeing you all there!
January -
Date: Saturday 1/18
Time: 11:00am
Place: UMOCA
20 South West Temple SLC
Cost: FREE
Project 1:
Lines- With any writing tool of your choosing draw as many lines as you can on four different pieces of
paper. Once you’ve finished the line drawing, you will organize them onto a four panel composition. The
composition can be anything; it could be a grid, a vertical line, a horizontal line, a diagonal line, etc., as
long as the pages touch in some way. Finally, the drawing will be attached to each other, based on your
composition, to create the finished product.

March -
Date: Saturday 3/15
Time: 11:00am
Place: UMOCA
Cost: FREE
Project 2:
Plane: Texture Collage- Using flat sheets of textured paper, or a texture you create on your own by
folding or crumpling a piece of paper, you will think about the last project and how you organized your
line drawing, to create a collage on a sheet of colored paper as your background. The texture pieces can
be placed next to each other or layered on one another (to create new textures) or placed far from each
other to allow for a smooth to textured look and feel.

Stay tuned for additional project lists!! and don't forget to RSVP!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Welcome 2014

2014 for is going to be a great year with Utah Easy to Love! We are so excited about the family events, group topics and workshops we have this year!

We look forward to seeing you all and watch the blog and facebook for details!

Happy 2014!!!