Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year, A New Reality

Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). This is the overall diagnosis we received for Morgan on Wednesday. Huh? What is this? Why does autism have to be so complicated? I'll see if I can explain how they came to this conclusion.

Morgan was evaluated using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Module 1. I quote, "It is a standardized observation instrument used to assess social and communicative behaviors in children with autism. The ADOS, Module 1 includes activities such as free play with toys, response to name, response to joint attention, bubble play, anticipation of a routine with objects, responsiveness to a social smile, anticipation of a social routine, functional and symbolic imitation, participation in a birthday party and snack time."

The ADOS is scored in two sections, Communication and Reciprocal and Social Interaction. In the Communication section Morgan scored a 4... which put her in the "Autism range of 4-10" (the Autism Spectrum range was 2-3). In the Social Interaction section she scored a 4 as well... which put her in the Autism Spectrum range of 4-6 (Autism range was 7-14). So, overall the final score was an 8 which put her in the overall Autism Spectrum range of 7-11 (Autism range was 12-24). A "typical" child would score anywhere from 0-6.

So, if that made sense, Morgan is on the higher functioning end of the spectrum, which we feel very fortunate about. They said if she was older she would be diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, but not knowing where she will end up in her language development, for now it is PDD-NOS. Basically this means she does not have all the traits required to make her "classically" autistic, but she has enough of them to put her "on the spectrum."

Overall, if we have to have a child on the spectrum, we are grateful that she is where she is. The recommendations we have to move forward include the combination of "typical" and "developmental" preschool that we already have in place (Yay!). There is also a possibility of a special program through Eastern Washington University for the next school year. They did not recommend additional speech and language therapy, but we will revisit this if needed in six months. They also recommended what is called Relationship Development Instruction (RDI) therapy at home. They gave me a book to review that gives instructions on how to work one-on-one with your child to teach them basic body language and other non-verbal communication.

Finally they gave us a great list of contact information for local resources and support groups, such as the Inland NW Autism Center and the Spokane Chapter of the Autism Society of Washington. There are lots of learning opportunities for us through both of these groups.

Aside from the test scores they did tell us that we have some other things going for us as Morgan is both smart and strong-willed. Other autistic children can be more passive making motivation difficult. As much as her being strong-willed is challenging to us i.e. stubborness and tantrums, it can only work in our favor in the future.

So, this is our new reality with our Morgan. I think we feel as good as possible about knowing what we are dealing with now and look forward to learning better ways to communicate with our daughter and help her reach her full potential. Also, during our meeting with the psychologist and SLP (speech therapist), they were able to observe Piper and noted that she had good communication and social skills for her age. They did say the key time frame for some kids with the onset of autism is 18-22 months (though I think Morgan showed signs all along). I think we'll breathe easier in Piper's case once she reaches her developmental milestones at age two.

Have you hung in there? We are off to a NYE party with friends tonight. Looking forward to ringing in a whole new chapter in our lives!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa Claus Came to Town

Santa Claus is Coming to Town was one of Morgan's favorite songs this Christmas season. She would always request "sing Santa Claus!" And by Christmas she was singing it all by herself. Those people we skyped with on Christmas day can attest to this.

As soon as the girls came down the stairs in the morning they headed right to this new little car. Piper opened the door and hopped right in. This is later in the day when Morgan decided it was her turn and Piper didn't want to be left out.

I think Morgan had enough of Piper sitting on her and she quickly exited the car. Now Morgan likes Piper to push her around the kitchen in it.
Both girls got lots of new toys to play with. I think they were both a little overwhelmed. Even after a few days they go from one new toy to another, not quite deciding what they want to play with the most. We certainly have a challenge ahead of us regarding storage. Some toys are going to have to be "cycled out" somehow. There is just too much that they don't play with anymore.

Check out this sweet fairy princess. Several times a day Morgan wants help to put on this beautiful costume her Aunt Cristen bought for her. She loves the crown the best which sometimes is left on long after the rest of the costume has been removed.

A little blown out, but I love the expression on Piper's face. She is giving us all sorts of funny and expressive looks lately. She also tilts her head to the side in a silly/coy kind of way that makes us laugh every time. She also has been giving us the BEST hugs! She'll walk up to you with her arms up. Once you pick her up she leans in, puts her head on your shoulder, wraps her arms around and actually "hugs" you. Sometimes she throws in a few pats on your back too. Grampa is totally smitten!

Our sweet girls. Notice the bow on Morgan's head. She had many colors of bows on her head throughout the day. Cracked me up.
We had a wonderful day of enjoying Gramma's wonderful cooking. Sausage/egg casserole and coffee cake for breakfast...yum! Then Aunt Trudy and Uncle Dan came over for an amazing dinner that night. We had a lovely fillet roast with broiled tomatoes and orzo pasta, topped of by creme brulee for dessert. It was divine!
So, considering our news earlier in the week we managed to have a wonderful Christmas. Diagnosis or no diagnosis, Morgan is our sweet girl and we will love her to no end no matter what. This marks a "new reality" for us, a challenging journey ahead, life with an autistic child. We will take it day by day and do our very best for our girl.
Also, Gramma and Grampa A had to leave to head home this morning. So sad. We had a wonderful three weeks with them. We were so spoiled by Gramma's cooking and their generous babysitting services. We were able to enjoy several holiday get-togethers sans kiddos. They just really wanted to spend time with the girls anyway.
It was also invaluable to have them here while we had Morgan's testing and initial results. Having that emotional support was amazing. There are so many decisions to be made in these situations and having confirmation that we were doing the best we could really helped.
David is "off" work this week so we are planning lots of good outings and family time (he is taking calls, just not traveling or visiting clients). I am also thinking this blog needs a design overhaul...not sure when that will happen, but a "new reality" needs other changes as well. So much to talk little time...

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Email

From an email sent from the child psychiatrist:

"...we are seeing her on the autism spectrum..."

And after a few more short emails back and forth to schedule a meeting to discuss...

"Have a nice Christmas."


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This is a new word in our family vocabulary. Morgan had her long-awaited evaluation with the child psychologist last week. The evaluation is still in progress, but in the interim we were introduced to this new concept. Hyperlexia is simply defined as a "precocious reading ability in very young children." We've been fascinated with Morgan's early abilities to recognize and name numbers, letters, shapes and colors. In the information on Hyperlexia I've read so far I've seen the term, "an intense fascination with letters and numbers" several times. This is definitely the case with Morgan, who will announce any letters and numbers she sees...anywhere, the sign on a store, a highway speed limit sign and even the page numbers in a book. She's lately taken to spelling out a word on a page and then asking us "what's that spell?" I couldn't say she's actually reading yet, but I could see it happening anytime.

In some kids Hyperlexia is just a higher level skill and they go on to develop "normally" ("neuro-typical" or NT is what I see a lot lately). However, in many children Hyperlexia is often seen as a "splinter skill" that is associated with autism. Some other professionals think that Hyperlexia in some children causes "autistic-like" behaviors, but the child may lose some of those behaviors as their communication skills improve.

With Hyperlexia many children can read, but unfortunately there is a lower comprehension of what they are actually reading. There can also be significant problems in understanding language. This makes sense to me as many times I've tried to explain something to Morgan or ask a question and I just get nothing back. Many times I've said to David that I just don't think she understands what I'm saying to her. Expressive language is delayed and with early speech, what they do say is often "echolalic," repeated words and phrases. There is little spontaneous language.

The psychologist did say that she saw red flags for autism during her evaluation, but she felt she needed more information. We now have her scheduled to observe Morgan's preschool class in early January. She wants to observe how Morgan behaves in a class of NT children. I'm encouraged that she wants to do this. Though we still may come out with an autism diagnosis, I feel like the evaluation will be thorough and we will have something concrete to work with.

There is much more to it...I could write forever. If you are interested, here are a few links to articles on Hyperlexia that have been helpful for us. Much of it surprised us that the more we read the more "it sounds like Morgan.":

No matter the outcome, we know we have a lot of therapy and special education ahead of us. She is in a good place with both of her current schools and therapy schedule. It may not change much even with an official diagnosis, but it will give us more detailed information to use so we can help her maximize her potential.

Friday, December 10, 2010

School Girl

Morgan started her new (and second) preschool on Tuesday. I just looked back in my posts and realized I haven't talked much about Morgan's developmental issues much lately. On her birthday she aged out of the Early Intervention program (EI). Back in September we had a "transition" meeting with the psychologist from the school district as well as a representative from EI. They told us what the options might be for continued therapy as well as a possible preschool program. We then scheduled her evaluation for mid-November, so she would be able to start as soon as she turned three.

The evaluation was pretty intense. There was a speech therapist, occupational therapist (fine motor) and the psychologist all taking turns asking her questions and asking her to perform tasks. There was woman who also tried to test her hearing and vision. Morgan did not cooperate well with this (tell me what almost three year old would want to put earphones on their head?!), but it was determined that her hearing and vision are fine. Finally she met with the physical therapist who put her through her paces... and let her jump on a trampoline a lot, which she loved!

A week later the psychologist called to discuss the results. She said Morgan had been "keeping her up at night" because she wanted to figure out what was best for her. Morgan (at that point) didn't have any qualifying scores. We were afraid of that. She is behind in all areas, but not enough to qualify for services at this time. The psychologist had one more score to collect and she called me back the next day. That day we learned that she had just qualified in the area of occupational therapy (OT - fine motor skills). I wasn't surprised. This is one area she had not been fully evaluated on with EI and I always have trouble keeping her interested in things like coloring. With the score she received she also needed to qualify in another area to attend the preschool. The psychologist made a "professional judgement" to allow her to attend based on the area of social skills, since Morgan did seem to be challenged in this area. She said that she does this only once or twice a year with a child that doesn't have all the qualifying scores, yet somehow seems like they would benefit from the preschool. This is what they call a "developmental preschool." There are kids there with various developmental issues that need early assistance and therapy so they are ready for Kindergarten when they are older.

I was very grateful that they were able to make an exception for Morgan. It is easy for kids like Morgan to fall through the cracks in the system. I think the developmental preschool will especially help her in the social area. She will still attend her "regular" preschool on Mondays, but will attend the developmental one Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It is a lot of school, but I think having the teachers and therapists there will help make sure she is getting the extra assistance she needs.

There may also be an option of her attending a program called AIM early next year. It is the Alternative Instruction Model. It is a program for autistic kids. Currently they have lower-functioning students in there now, but there may be kids more at Morgan's level starting early next year. We still do not have an official diagnosis of autism for Morgan, but the school psychologist confirmed that she thought this was a strong possibility. We are scheduled for the official evaluation with the other child psychologist next week. I'm nervous about it, but ready to know what we are really dealing with so we can tackle it head-on.

So, for the report on school this week, Morgan is doing well. It was a long week and two of the four mornings I had to wake her up she said "no school!" Once she was there she did great through. They did say she seemed kind of out of it today, but she really was pretty tired after such a busy week. She'll adjust to the schedule. Since they go by the school schedule we have one more week until Christmas break, then she'll be back in school the week of January 3rd. I spoke with the OT about her first session today and she said she did great! They think she's really going to "take off" with it. I was really excited to hear this. I also got some tips on things we can work with her at home.

Since Morgan did not qualify for speech therapy with the disctrict I'm thinking of continuing with some private therapy after the holidays are over. Her teacher is really impressed with her language skills, but I think it is compared to the other kids in her class. She is still quite behind typically developing kids.

Thanks for sticking with my long post, but this should catch you all up on Morgan's progress. Overall we are so proud of her for the progress she's made. Despite her struggles, she is such an awesome little personality. We just want the best for her.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Morgan is THREE!

Morgan turned THREE on Sunday! She woke up to see streamers and balloons. We told her it was her birthday and she said "Birthday time for Morgan!" She always gets a huge smile on her face when we sing happy birthday to her. She started opening a few presents in the morning. She really like to play with each gift after opening it, so the presents lasted her most of the day.

We had a nice, casual gathering of friends and neighbors in the afternoon. It was the perfect size for Morgan to handle, a few kids she knows as well as Gramma and Grampa A who arrived on Saturday. We had such a good time! Here are a few pictures of the kids at cake time.

Such a pretty Birthday Girl

Blowing out the candles (with a little help from Mama)

Mmmm, the frosting on this candle tastes good, but where's the cake?
Believe me, she enjoyed it. She savored it so much she was the last kid at the table and she devoured every bit of it and the ice cream. Her friend Taylor (and her Mom and Dad Trevor and Amy) stayed for dinner. As usual, Taylor didn't want to leave that night and Morgan didn't want her to leave either. All in all she had a great birthday! We can't believe she's three. We are blessed that we have such a wonderful little girl!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Piper's 15 Month Well Baby Appointment

Monday Piper had her 15 month appointment with the pediatrician. It was quite a challenge as David had work obligations so I had to take Morgan and Piper with me to the doctor's office on my own. Morgan ended up behaving very nicely. My biggest challenge was that Piper is still in her "mommy only" phase and did not care for anyone else touching her. Poor thing was exhausted by the time it was over. Here are her latest stats:

Height: 31 inches (68%)
Weight: 23 lbs 4 oz (57-58%)
Head Circ: 18.3 inches (64%)

So, she's evening out a little since her 12 month appt. She's in a higher percentile for height and a lower percentile for her weight. Still smaller than Morgan, but her body type seems completely different so far. Even though she's not in a high percentile for her weight, this girl has got some thighs! But, what's cuter than a chubby baby?!

Developmentally she's doing well. The only thing we are getting a little impatient on is that she's still not walking!! She will walk anywhere from 6-10 steps between us when David and I sit on the floor with her, but she won't yet commit to full time walking. The Dr. and Morgan's physical therapists say she's got all the skills to do it, she just needs the confidence. That's why David and I are doing "walking practice" with her whenever we can. Morgan LOVES watching Piper and cheering her on, it's so cute! We think it could happen any day. She is showing improvement every time we work with her, so it's really only a matter of time.

Piper was due for more immunizations, so we had that trauma to deal with. Poor baby was screaming even before the nurse touched her. I know they are necessary, but it's sure hard to watch.

We went right from the appointment to Morgan's preschool. One positive from the appointment is that Piper was much more mellow and I didn't have to chase after her as much. It was nice to be able to participate in the parent's discussion this time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sank You

Good timing! Right before Thanksgiving Morgan "got" the concept of saying "thank you". She doesn't quite pronounce the "th" sound well yet, so it comes out "sank you." Sometimes she says "sanks" and "oh sank you," as well. In fact she says it a lot. Everytime I give her a book, a sippy cup, a toy, a little more milk in her glass at meals...she says "sank you!" So cute.

It's funny, we never really have pushed saying "thank you." We'll throw it in now and then and it seems she suddenly got it. We've been working a lot harder on "please" and she still needs to be prompted to say this. I'm sure someday it will "click" in her head, but for now we're loving our thank yous!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Go Bears!

Morgan and Piper wore their Cal cheerleading outfits on Saturday. Sorry, no pictures, but I promise they were dreadfully cute. Unfortunately our team has not been so good this year, but managed to put on a respectful showing against the #1 University of Oregon.

When we got home from our friends' house that night Morgan grabbed my pom poms and did a big "Go Bears!" cheer. We cheered along with her.

Then she said "Go Ducks!" Uh oh. Well, maybe she saw the Oregon Ducks on TV. At least she's still cheering on the Pac-10, right?

Finally she said "Go Sheep!" Huh?!!! I guess we're cheering for all animals, not colleges. Oh well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sweet Sleeping Baby

We had just headed back to the hotel from our picnic at Cathedral Beach. Piper fell asleep on the ride. Usually when I pull her out of her car seat she wakes up. She did stir some this time, but I pulled her into my chest really quickly and to my surprise she stayed asleep. I got to snuggle with her in our room for about a half an hour until something woke her up. She hasn't done this since she was a newborn, so it was really sweet to be able to have even a short time of snuggling.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Self Portrait

When I downloaded our pictures from Yosemite I found this lovely shot!! I can tell it is taken in our room at the lodge, but I have no idea when she did this. Hilarious!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yosemite Family Reunion

Yay! I finally got my pictures downloaded and had a little time to blog. Piper actually just woke from her nap, so this may have less detail than usual. I probably go on too much anyway.

Our first glimpse of Yosemite Falls. Our road trip up to Yosemite was, well, interesting. On the way up Priest Grade I knew we were in trouble when Morgan starting whining and putting her hand over her mouth. She threw up all over the car!! Poor thing. We were able to pull over and as I was unbuckling her from her carseat she was saying "No, No, No!" I had to strip her down on the side of the road. Once she was wiped down and in new clothes she was happy as a clam. For myself, I had to take care of cleaning the mess of the car seat and the rest of the surrounding items. Ick. We did the best we could and completed the trip without incident. I consider this somewhat a rite of passage for us as parents. It had to happen at some point.

When we arrived in the valley we were struck by the amazing Fall colors. What a great time to be there! This was a get-together with my Dad's siblings and their families, my cousins. It was great to see everyone as we all arrived that day.

At Yosemite Falls, Morgan was more fascinating by stomping in the puddles than anything else. She did like to say "waterfall" over and over.

Piper being sweet with her Aunt Ali. She was nice and smile-y for everyone.

Here are the Bottomley siblings, Forrest (Buster), Berri, Bonnie and Bruce.

Here are some of the cousins, Ali, Amy, Becky and Meg. Poor Sara was resting in her room. She was amazing to make the trip with walking pneumonia. We were so glad to see her though.

Our little family. Not quite Christmas Card worthy, but what can you do with two kids under three years old?

Ah, Half was good to see you. I don't have pictures of it, but we had a nice cookout at the Lower Pines campground. It has an even better view of Half Dome.

The entrance to the Ahwahnee Hotel. Mom, Ali and I took a walk over there and had a drink. Yummy Basil Gimlet! It was my one kid-free time during this trip. It was niiiiice...

On our last day we had a picnic at Cathedral beach. Morgan headed straight for the river. She LOVED throwing rocks in the water. My Dad took this action shot. You can actually see the rock!

Piper headed for the water too. She managed not to go in, as Morgan got her shoes soaked!

The whole family! This is the best we could get of Morgan. It looks like she's inspecting something, but she really trying to stand up and run away. She did request a rousing game of "Ring around the Rosie" on the beach though. Funny girl!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Since we've been gone

It's been a while. We've been off on vacation to Northern California and Yosemite National Park. We are home and getting settled back into our routine. I will post some pictures and updates soon. Quite an adventure traveling with two kiddos under 3 years old. In short, we're finally catching up on some sleep.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's in a Name?

Morgan has caught on to names recently. We used to ask her what her name was and she'd answer "name!" Then one time a few weeks ago she suddenly started saying "Morgan" when we asked her. Yay! She could also tell us our names, Mama and Daddy and Piper.

At school this morning Morgan was delighted to discover a new "friend" in her class, a mouse! She saw it before I did and excitedly exclaimed, "mouse!" and ran over to the glass-enclosed "house" the mouse lives in. I hate to admit it, but the little thing is pretty cute. It was such a busy little thing, scurrying around and eating it's food. I asked one of the teachers what the mouse's name was and she said, "Pinky." I kept telling Morgan this as she checked out the mouse, though she never said it's name herself.

Fast forward to lunch today. As we were finishing up and I was wiping Morgan's face she mentioned the mouse again. I asked her "what is the mouse's name?" I was glad when she answered correctly "Pinky!" Then I pointed to Piper and said "what's her name?" She said "sister, Piper!" Then I pointed to her and said "what's your name?" She said "Morgan!" Then I pointed to myself and said what's my name?" She said happily "Mama...Meg!" Too funny!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Naked Girl

My little "smart cookie" is currently in her room, completely naked. She is supposed to be napping.

This has been a common occurrence lately. It started just with her naps and bedtime. As soon as she us put down and we leave the room, she undresses. At night we usually have to wait (a while) until she is mostly asleep before we put her back in her pajamas for the night. Otherwise she will just keep getting naked.

During the day she sometimes decides to strip down and run around. Sometimes, with the weather getting cooler, I get concerned about her being cold, but I figure if that's the case she'll want her clothes back on. Lately I've just let her run around and play, indoors of course. I'm also using it as an opportunity to work on some potty training. I know she won't randomly pee or poop on the floor. If she has to go she heads over to our supply of Pull-Ups and goes to a particular corner of the room to put them on. I always try to tempt her to go on the potty by telling her she'll get a sticker. I don't push it too much, but I want to keep reminding her. Someday she'll take me up on it, right?

The other day, during her "naptime" she attempted to put her clothes back on. Her Pull-Up was on backwards, her pants inside out...but all in all it was a great attempt. She had quite a bit of trouble with the shirt which elicited all sorts of frustrated noises from her room. I finally decided the naptime must be over and helped her get her shirt on. I made sure to praise her for her success with putting on her pants and Pull-Up.

As other things, this phase will pass. I hope. It's really cute right now, but in a few years? Not so much.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greenbluff Fall Festival 2010

We finally made a trip up to Greenbluff this weekend. This is usually a really fun time of year with the Apple Festival events and pumpkin patches. Unfortunately it didn't go so well this time.

The last few years we went earlier in the season. Well...we learned that going earlier is better because it was so CROWDED! It overwhelmed us as well as the girls. I don't know where the saying comes from, but I hear it a lot lately. This trip was an "Epic Fail."

Everything was overpriced and we had to wait in lines for everything from train rides to food. I've mentioned how much Morgan loves the bouncy houses. After waiting (not very patiently) with Daddy, she finally got in one another little girl fell on her before she even got to jump! We managed to get out of there with a few pictures and a lot of wailing.

Checking out the pumpkins with Daddy

Jumping her way through the patch

Taking a rest

Piper strolling

Is that a good one over there?!

This brought a few smiles. Pumpkin doughnuts. Yum!
Today I got a tip on another farm we can try that is closer and less crowded. Maybe we'll try that one before the season is over.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baby Curls

Piper's hair started growing faster just about a month ago. The same thing happened with Morgan, right around 12 months. Morgan's has a slight wave, but Piper has surprised us with CURLS! Her hair is so soft and the hair in the back and over her ears are curling all over. I love to play with it any chance I get.

Had to add this gap-toothed grin. Still only six teeth.

Getting blonder too

Curls on the sides

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dora Play-Doh

Morgan's favorite new activity is Play-Doh! Gram B. got her a Dora the Explorer set that she just loves. I usually sit down with her and help her roll the dough out and make sure the "cookie cutter" pieces are properly pushed down...but more and more she is doing it by herself.

The Dora set has all kinds of fun stuff in it. Right now I'm just giving Morgan the basics, the dough, roller, cutters and one mold. The additional items in the set are more molds, a whole "forest scene" with backdrop (I have her use the bottom part of the scene with the water and places to put the cut out shapes). We'll get to those eventually, but for now they are a little much.

Morgan knows where to put the shapes when they are cut out. The dough colors are fun, yellow, lavender and a bright blue.

See the blue "Boots" character on the picture of the bridge? That is the one mold I am showing her how to use. This particular time I had some things to do and when I came back to the table she had put the correct amount of dough in the mold and pressed it together all by herself! All I had to do was help her get it out. She was so proud of herself.
We mostly do Play-Doh when Piper is napping. If Piper is awake she wants to play too, unfortunately she just wants to put the dough in her mouth and they fight over all the cutters and other pieces. I try to keep things even. Morgan usually takes a longer afternoon nap than Piper, so I have activities especially for Piper during that time, like coloring and blocks.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To The Store

Morgan is now wearing Pull-Ups instead of a diaper. I swore I wouldn't do this, but I had to give in. We were having epic battles over diaper changes, she just didn't want to lie down and let me change her. It would become a game where she would run into the kitchen and want to play "I'm gonna get you!"...which means I'd have to run into the kitchen, tickle her and carry her back into the living room. Ugh! Exhausting. Now that she wears the Pull-Ups, she can take them off herself and only needs a little help to get a new one on. No more battles. I hope it's worth it, because it kills me how expensive these things are. Hopefully it's a short phase until she decides she wants to use the potty on her own.

Now, these Pull-Ups are also fascinating to Morgan because they have "Princesses" on them. Disney princesses, to be exact. In fact, we don't call them Pull-Ups, we call them "Princess Pants," (thanks Gram). She has learned all their names. Tiana, Belle and Cinderella. This is different from Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty who are on her sneakers. Her overnight Pull-ups have Sleeping Beauty on them too, appropriate.

There are two patterns on the Pull-Ups, one with Belle alone and another with all three princesses. The other day Morgan looked at the one with only Belle and said "Tiana and Cinderella went to the store." Huh?! I was puzzled for a second, then I laughed. There was one time we went to our neighbor's house to see if their little girl could play. They were not home. Morgan got upset and didn't understand why her friend wasn't there. So, in the moment I decided to say "Mya went to the store," (this is how we say we are going to the grocery store). That seemed to make sense to her and she stopped being upset. A few times that night she looked out the window, didn't see her friend and said "Mya went to the store!" So, now that she noticed Tiana and Cinderella weren't on that particular Pull-up...she decided that they must have gone "to the store." OK, I can work with that. No, princesses probably don't need to go to the grocery store, but that is beyond her understanding at this point. Its just nice to see her thought process.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's all about the "bribe"

The last two weeks after preschool I've had to deal with HUGE meltdowns trying to get Morgan in the car to leave. She loves to run up and down the grassy hill right next to the school. Two weeks ago she ran and ran and ran and just didn't want to leave. Last week it was raining and she refused to listen when I told her it was too wet.

This week I figured out how to get her in the car without screaming and tears. The bribe. Morgan LOVES these Kashi granola bars that I buy for myself. She doesn't get them very often, and when she does it's a special treat. I snuck one in my purse this morning. Once she had run up and down the hill many times and all of her friends were leaving I decided to test things out. I said, "Morgan, I have a granola bar for you in the car." She immediately started saying "Granola bar! Granola bar!" and made her way right over to the car. When we got there I pushed it further and told her she had to get into her car seat before she could have it. There was no messing around...she got right in her seat! I gave her the granola bar and once I packed Piper in we were on our way in record time!

This didn't used to work for Morgan...she usually would ignore me and keep doing whatever I wanted her to stop doing. This is encouraging in that she is understanding what I am saying. I'm sure this won't work in all cases and her stubbornness will prevail, but for this purpose it worked well. Maybe I should consider giving her pieces of granola bar if she uses the potty? Hmm...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Swiffer Sisters

Morgan and Piper have suddenly become fascinated with our Swiffer mop! I don't know why, since I don't use it a ton, but they certainly get the idea that it is used to clean the floor. We keep it in our garage, so most days Morgan asks for the "swifter" and I help her get it. Then she both pushes it in front of her and drags it behind her all over the downstairs. Piper likes to try too when Morgan is not using it. Maybe I should recruit them soon to help me clean the kitchen floor!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Morgan has discovered band-aids!! Fortunately there are no boo-boos involved (or "ouchies" as we call them). That would be confusing to call them "boo-boos" because that's what we call her!

Of course she loves them because they have Dora and Hello Kitty on them. At one point last week she had six of them on, three on each arm! Even with baths she managed to keep them on for several days. Lately she's started to take them off herself, so they don't have much longevity anymore. We've run into problems here and there where she keeps trying to put more on..up to a few times a day. We tell her we need to "save the band-aids for the ouchies." I think she kind of gets it... and tells us every once in a while that the band-aids are "all gone." We just nod our heads and agree with her.

Friday, October 1, 2010


I meant to post about this earlier this week, but now it's suddenly Friday and I'm just now getting a little time to blog.

We postponed Morgan's evaluation with the child psychologist. It turns out that this particular doctor is not in-network and cannot be approved as such quickly. We would like to avoid paying out of pocket for this evaluation. It will take up to 90 days for her to be added to our in-network plan, but hopefully it will be faster. She told us she will contact us as soon as she receives approval and will get Morgan scheduled for her next evaluation slot.

I really wanted this to happen and considered forking over the money. I just want to know where she is at so we can move forward with whatever the diagnosis is (or isn't). Of course, patience has never been one of my strengths, so this is hard on me. So we will spend a while longer not knowing quite what we're dealing with, but the psychologist assured me that it wouldn't make much of a difference. Morgan has a good therapy plan in place now until she's three in December. Hopefully we'll be able to get the evaluation done around that time anyway.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Valleyfest 2010

Spokane Valley throws a fun festival at the end of September every year. Last year it rained, so we didn't go, but this year it was a GLORIOUS day! It is at a local park and there are all kinds of things to see and do. There is a full bandstand with dancers and singers, art vendors, local business vendors and lots of attractions for the kids. Oh, and we can't forget the food, hot dogs, taco trucks, funnel cakes and elephant ears. Sure to please any kid...and maybe give them a stomach ache too. I think we fared pretty well though.

This was our lunch break of a simple meal of hot dogs, always a winner for the Allendorf girls. They always taste so good in an outdoor festival setting. I think Morgan is making sure Piper is eating her hot dog...she had already gobbled up hers.

A quick shot of the vendor tents. There were a TON of people there, lots of kids, strollers and balloons. Morgan got an orange balloon that she insisted on launching into the air. She saw a few of them floating away as we were arriving and I think that's what she thought you were supposed to do with them. I remember being so upset when I lost a balloon when I was a kid, but she had a BIG smile on her face as it floated away. We got one for Piper too and they both played with it at home that night. The next morning it had lost all it's helium and Morgan kept trying to throw it up in the air. She got really angry when she realized it wasn't going to float anymore. I guess she had to learn that lesson sometime.

We are always trying to get Morgan to try new things. We wonder how she's going to handle them, but usually she does just fine. She was OK with sitting on the sheriff's motorcycle and liked the "deputy" sticker she got when she was done. Now, the face painting didn't work out quite as well. As soon as that brush got close to her she freaked out! Maybe next time.

This, of course was the hit of the day. She kept saying "bouncy" and "jump" until we let her go on it several times. One time she wouldn't come out when her time was up and I had to be "that Mom" who had to climb into the bouncy house and drag her out. Do you think we should get one for our backyard? She loves it so much she might even sleep in there?!
This was so fun to get out as a family and enjoy the nice day. We ran into a few people we knew and overall had a great time! The girls were pooped and took good naps when we got home and David and I relaxed in front of some college football games. Love Saturdays!