Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A fond farewell to 2008

2008 was a good year for the little Allendorf Family. It pretty much encompassed the majority of Morgan's life and we saw her go from a newborn to a big BIG Girl! She is just the joy of our lives! The year went quickly, but we were able to savor the time along the way.

Looking forward to 2009 we are excited about the year ahead. Yes, the economy stinks, and there a lot of uncertainties, but looking back on how God provided in 2008, how can we doubt that all will be well in 2009 as well? There may be less "things" along the way, but we don't need those things anyway. Family and friends...relationships are what is important.

I hope you've enjoyed our blog this year. I know I've been a bit of a slacker of late, but I think I was being a blog "overachiever" at the beginning. It's hard to keep up with posts most days of the weeks, so my norm may be about 3-4 posts per week from now on. Who knows...inspiration may bring more. I'm working on keeping the camera ready, but Morgan moving so fast lately it's hard to get good shots anymore. We will do our best.

Happy New Year to all!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Debdoozie's Blue Ribbon Chili

We had a few GREAT chili recipes for Morgan's first birthday party. A few people have asked me to send them this really easy MEATY you go!

1 lbs Ground Beef
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
2 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce
1 (8 oz) jar Salsa (Pace Picante Medium, recommended)
4 Tablespoons Chili Seasoning Mix (Rec. Williams brand, I used Schilling)
1 (15 oz) can Light Red Kidney Beans
1 (15 oz) can Dark Red Kidney Beans

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.

2. Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

I had "toppings" on the side: Sour Cream, Cheddar, chopped Green Onions, Jalapenos, more Salsa and chopped red onion. We also served it with cornbread.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snowblower Guy

There is a new character around our house since the snow starting flying. I call him Snowblower Guy. He pops out of bed early...usually it is to the sound of the neighborhood snowblower. There are actually two snowblowers on our block, one electric and the other gas powered. Snowblower Guy is especially in tune to the sound of the gas powered one that lives next door. This morning he peeked out the window and spied it at work. He said "I'm going to go out and shovel the driveway...and since I hear the snowblower maybe I'll get to use that too." And off he went!

This morning Snowblower Guy was outside for over two hours. Every time I peeked out the window he was in a different neighbor's driveway or working on the sidewalks. That is something great that has happened with all the snow we've had this year...many of our neighbors within a four house radius all help each other out. We borrow each others shovels (I think ours has been at the house across the street for about a week now), snowblowers and if someone is out of town we make sure their driveways/sidewalks/walkways don't get too snowy. I was especially grateful for this when David was out of town when we got our first huge storm about two weeks ago.

I think the secret is that Snowblower Guy really enjoys the social part of the neighboorhood snow clearing...he gets to keep up with all the latest details and hang with the guys. Once he walks out the garage door I'm not sure when he's coming back...but he enjoys it...and enjoying something that most people think is an annoying chore is a big bonus! We hope Snowblower Guy stays in service as long as the weather keeps calling!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Christmas Day

We had an excellent Christmas Day here. It was tough to choose pictures because we took so many, but here's basically how the morning/afternoon went in our household.

Oooh! Pretty tree! Do you like my Christmas jammies? They say "Santa's Favorite".

Is this for me?!

Pretty ducky from Great Aunt Berri... it quacks too!

Pop beads from Grandma and Grandpa B! I love them!

Is that an angel I see?

That's pretty too!

I think I want to eat it...

Not fair Mommy! I wanted to eat it!

Post-tantrum: Pretty clothes and something furry from Gramma and Grampa A

Ooh! It's soft...

Oops! We almost forgot the stockings!

My very own ornament!

Mmm...this wreath tastes good!

Look at all my loot! If you look VERY closely, you will see TWO Cal cheerleading outfits, one from cousins Jamie and Regan and one from Grandma and Grandpa B. I'm set for a while!


And another one, just because she's SOOO cute!
We had some friends over for a yummy dinner that night. Overall it was nice and relaxing. Who knows where we'll be next year? We'd love to get away from the cold/snow and see family, but traveling around the holidays is always stressful. Sigh. Well, we've got another year to figure it out.
We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baby Bookworm

Lately Morgan has been very into her books. She can often be found sitting on the floor paging through them, forward, then backwards...sometimes looking at them upside down. In the picture below she is looking at her "Good Night San Francisco" book given to her by her Aunt Ali. Can you see the page with Lombard Street?

Tonight when we were doing the bedtime routine Morgan was sitting on my lap and David was reading the stories. He didn't always hold up the book for her to see. This annoyed her a bit because she'd stop drinking her sippy cup of milk and lean over to see the book. Whenever we finish the stories she always looks at the pile of books as if to say "read another one!"

When I read to her before naps she likes to turn the pages. I have to be stealthy about it though and not actually make the page "available" to turn until I'm almost done with the words. If I hook my finger in the next page too soon she'll grab it and turn it before I'm ready.

We're glad she is enjoying the stories and hope she continues to develop a love for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Bottle-less Baby

Tonight we quit the bottle...hopefully for good. For a few weeks now, Morgan has been down to one bottle a day, before bed. I dragged my feet on this for a few weeks after her Dr. appointment. It just breaks my heart to know my baby is so big she doesn't need a bottle anymore. Sniff sniff.

I decided it was going to be harder on me than her so I set a deadline for tonight to change the routine. We did her normal bath time routine. After we put on her jammies, we turned down the lights and I sat with her in the glider. I gave her a sippy cup with her milk instead of the bottle. While she sipped David read her a few stories, then we sang a few Christmas songs. Finally we turned the lights all the way off, had kisses and prayers and in the crib she went. She took a little while longer than usual to fall asleep, but she wasn't upset. Possibly it was because she had a late nap today.

Eventually the sippy cup will go too, but we thought it was a good transition from the bottle (as suggested by the doctor). One more hurdle jumped...we hope, as I hear her stirring in the other room. Sleep baby sleep...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it Snow!

We have had quite the snowfall in the past two days! David was out of town in the Tri-Cities, so I tackled the driveway the first night. I think we had about 8-12 inches at that time. It took me about an hour to clear the driveway and sidewalk. Luckily Morgan was napping during this time. I was pretty proud of myself for getting it done! Luckily the snow was pretty dry and fluffy.

The next day I woke up and driveway was covered again and then some. Our nice neighbors/friends offered to use their snow blower on the driveway that day since they knew David was out of town. I was keeping David in the loop on the storm throughout his trip. He'd managed to avoid a lot of it, but he set off for home a little earlier than planned to make sure he could get home yesterday. At about 3:00 pm he walked in the front door (note: he usually comes in the door from the garage)with his suitcase, announcing that he'd made it within 3 blocks, then the car got stuck, even with 4WD. A few hours later another neighbor with a truck/snowplow contraption plowed a lane through the neighborhood so we could get in and out again. Yay! David was then able to dig out the car and get it home. Whew!

These are a few shots of the neighborhood this morning. The sun is out and it's beautiful, but we hear there's another storm coming on Sunday. Here's David snow blowing the driveway:

A view the other direction down the street:

Here are a few shots I tried to get of the back slider door in the kitchen that leads to the backyard. I hope you can make them out. The "shadow" at the bottom of the door is actually how high the snow was blown up the back of the house. If you look further out in the backyard you can see big snowdrifts. The snow is pretty deep throughout the yard. Crazy, huh?

The blob to the left is our Weber grill...oops! It didn't make it into the garage before the storm hit.

I guess we're pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas this year! I heard we set a record for snowfall in the area, about 20 inches within 24 hours. Some areas got up to 37 inches!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It didn't turn out to be quite as cold as we thought it would be, so we ventured out for some errands today. Morgan enjoyed rides through both Costco and Target, our favorites. Other than that we did some playing and "practiced" walking...she's not holding quite so tight to our hands and sometimes even sort of takes off without us having to pull her. It still may be a while though.

In honor of some of Morgan's favorite birthday gifts, here are a few pictures to show them in use!

Thank you for my cute outfit Grandma and Grandpa B! We love the colors!

Morgan's new "car" from Gramma and Grampa A was a hit at the birthday party! Most of the little kids took a turn.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hunkering Down

Morgan and Mommy are hunkering down at home for a few days. It's COLD here! Now, I know it's not Minnesota or North Dakota cold, but not too far off. The high today is supposed to be 6 and the low -2. The next two days will be colder, with lows to 10 below. This cold snap is going to last a week, but the next few days will be the coldest. The worst part is the wind...the newscast just said, depending where you are, it can feel up to -20 degrees! The wind at night makes me feel like one of the three pigs who are waiting for the big bad wolf to blow their house down.

It was cold yesterday too. We went to church and then did a few errands. At one store we took a quick walk from the car into the store and Morgan's face was blotchy red by the time we got inside. That's when we decided to stay put at home for a bit. I'm sure I'll be stir crazy by Wednesday, though. Maybe a quick walk a few houses down to the neighbor's house will be a good outing?

We got our Christmas tree on Saturday! Actually David braved the cold tree lot to pick it out. It's a sweet little noble fir. We have the lights on and are working on the to come.

Here are a few shots of Morgan from her bath time last night. Instead of the bathroom "fly-by" we've been letting her stand by the tub and watch it fill up. We think she had enough of the fly-by because lately she's become kind of impatient with it. She's so cute as she bangs her hands on the side of the tub and bends her knees in anticipation.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


The following is a story I got from an Adventures in Motherhood group at church. It is worth reading...often. It's also especially good for this time of year:

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to coffee.

When all the former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, "If you notice, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it's normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups...and then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Consider this: Life is the coffee, the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of the life we live.

Sometimes by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lunch Battle

We had an unexpected battle of wills at lunch today. Morgan ate quite a bit of her veggie burger to start with. This was good. When we got to the dessert (read: fruit) portion of the meal I paused for a bit. I've been having a dilemma about fruit lately. She's been eating a lot of applesauce, but I'd like her to eat more actual pieces of fruit. Grapes cut into quarters are good, so today I though I'd try a little fruit cocktail. Who doesn't like fruit cocktail?

Well...Morgan doesn't like fruit cocktail...or at least not yet. Every piece I put on her tray was smooshed around or tossed overboard. Every piece I managed to get in her mouth was spit out. I think if she'd tried to chew it she would have liked it, but she didn't get that far. We'll try again tomorrow. Today we went back to the applesauce.

I also realized today that I need to re-address taking "bites." I though Morgan "got" this because she used to take little bites of everything, even her puffs. I gave her a graham cracker (rectangle shaped piece) and she proceed to try to shove it ALL in her mouth. Yikes! I grabbed it away from her and broke it in half, still thinking she'd try to take a bite of it, but no...all of it disappeared into her mouth. I stood closely by to see if she gagged or choked, but she managed to swallow all of it as well as the other piece on her tray. I broke the rest of the cracker into smaller pieces, but resolved to work on "bites" moving forward. Silly girl!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Still working on those party pictures... the meantime, Morgan has a new "trick." It's actually not that new as she's been doing it for a few weeks. I can't believe I haven't posted about it yet, but it's about time.

We consider Morgan's first word to be "duck." When she says it, it sounds like "duh." She first said it in the bathtub when playing with her rubber duckies. I also like to sing the song "Old MacDonald" to her a lot. She is fascinated with this song and will always stop what she's doing to listen. It comes in handy when she is trying to grab the remote or something else mischevious.

Somewhere along the way she connected the ducky in the bathtub to the duck in the song. As you know, in the song you have a choice of animals to say when the time comes and I use duck a lot because it is easy to make the "quack quack" sounds. I don't like the animals like a horse or a sheep where it's hard to make their sounds. I do them every once in a while, but not too often.

Well...not too long ago when singing this song I noticed she was saying "duh" while I was singing it. I really can't remember how this happened, but now when we sing "and on that farm he had a..." then you say the name of the animal, she says "duh." Most of time it was right on time with the song too! She also punctuates the end of the verse by saying "duh" again. Too cute! And the kicker is that now when she wants you to sing Old MacDonald she says "duh" "duh" "duh" until you start singing, then she gets the biggest smile on her face! She also just got a farm themed "see and say" toy for her birthday that has Old MacDonald on it. She does the same thing with the recorded music and says "duh" when it gets to that point in the song.

We still don't believe this, but David and I found ourselves demonstrating this skill in the doctor's office yesterday. Our pediatrician is really nice and we thought she'd get a kick out of it. She said we needed to videotape it...unfortunately we only have video on our camera, but we might give it a try.

So for now Morgan really only has interest in the ducks on Old MacDonald's farm. Every time I try another animal she just keeps saying "duh." Hopefully she'll learn some other animal sounds someday.

Monday, December 8, 2008

12 Month Well Baby Appointment

Morgan had her 12 Month well baby check this morning. She's doing great!! Here are the current stats:

Weight: 24 lbs 11 oz (yes, big girl!)
Height: 32 inches (tall too)
Head Circumference: 47 cm

All are in the 90th percentile...on track with past stats and overall proportional. She had three shots which caused her to turn bright red and scream...but that was to be expected. We came armed with tylenol and her wubbanub. They helped calm her down pretty quickly. Here are some more photos from her photo shoot last week!

Friday, December 5, 2008


Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

Today is Morgan's first birthday! When she woke up (early as usual) we went into her room singing the happy birthday song. She didn't know quite what to make of it, but she smiled at us as usual and pulled herself up in her crib to standing to be picked up. She got lots of kisses from us and gave us lots of kisses back. They're still a little slobbery, somewhere between a kiss and a lick...but we'll take it.

Auntie Ali arrived this morning and soon we were off to have some birthday and holiday pictures taken. I have a CD of the final shots which I will post here soon! Check back preparations are calling!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Sorry I'm so behind on new posts. We've been busy with birthday stuff and I actually forgot all about my blog. So distracted.

Here's a few tidbits from the last few days:

* Morgan had her first childcare meltdown since she was 4 months old. I went to my every-other-Tuesday bible study at church yesterday. Morgan has been so great in the childcare there as well as at church on Sundays. Everyone always comments on how good she is. She just plays and doesn't cry. We'll that all ended yesterday. I walked in the room after our group and one of the caregivers was holding her. She looked like she'd been crying already, but as soon as she saw me she burst into tears! I took her from the caregiver and she whined and cried for a little while longer. I also felt terrible because I was about to leave again. Our small group planned a lunch that day, so she would have to stay a few more hours. I got her calmed down a bit, but as soon as I had to go she started to cry again. All I could do was leave my cell phone number and go. Luckily I didn't get any calls and apparently she calmed down. When I came back she cried a little, but not as much as before. It could be the start of some separation anxiety.

* We've been doing a little practicing at blowing out candles prior to the birthday party. David and I were shocked that on the second time we tried it, she did it! We demonstrated for her a few times with the candles so she could see how to do it. I also blew gently in her face a little, so she got the idea of blowing the air out of her mouth. Much of the time she tries to touch the flame...not so good, but she has managed to blow it out a few times. We'll keep practicing. Who knows what will happen with a bunch of people watching her?

* Morgan LOVES her milk! We've been successful at switching to whole milk in a sippy cup for all meals. I think tonight will be the last bottle of formula at bedtime. Then we'll do milk in the bottle, until we decide to stop the bottle. I'm going to see what the pediatrician recommends at her appointment on Monday. I think we've done great getting her down to one bottle at this point. I think it might be harder on me than her to stop the last bottle. She's still a little baby! I'm just afraid that if we don't drop all bottles soon, she'll get too attached. And after that it will be on to weaning the pacifier from naps and bedtime. Ugh.