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!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Daddy's little sports fans

I hope you are all not getting tired of my not-so-good iPhone pics, but it's the easiest way to get a quick shot when I get inspired.

Check out these cute kiddos! The shirts are courtesy of Aunt Ali who brought them from California, since all they sell here are Seahawk shirts. Bleh! Fortunately, Morgan and Piper don't know that their team isn't so good right now, though they made a great effort on Monday night verses New Orleans. They also have some Cal shirts that they will be sporting this weekend. We won't tell them how embarrassed we were last weekend with the awful loss and will just hope for the best for this next game. Daddy is teaching them to be loyal fans!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Play Place

We have a spot we go on rainy or cold days. It's called the "Play Place" at the mall...not much shopping goes on, but it's great fun for the girls. We've been enjoying being outside all summer, so Saturday was the first day since last Spring that we needed to get the girls out, but it was not nice outside. Rain, rain go away...

I think a lot of malls have these play areas now. They are enclosed spaces with seating all around them. There are fun things to climb on like little boats and a tunnel that looks like an overturned tree stump (Piper's favorite). There's also a little patch of flowers, a ladybug and a fish. There is even a big tree slide! All these things are made of a sturdy, yet soft plastic, so if the kids fall they're unlikely to get hurt.

It was fun to see Piper tool around and play with all the toys and features. Last Winter she was still so little, that she didn't get much out of it. David and I would take turns holding her while the other chased Morgan.

We still had to chase Morgan a little, but not much. She's now able to handle many of the features, like the tree slide all by herself! Last Winter she could get up the steps by herself, but she would sit at the top of the slide and wait until we came to "catch" her. We literally had to pull her off the top of the slide. This time she was up and down it so fast. We just got to sit and enjoy it. Ahhh, that and a nice coffee treat made my day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's been a while

Ah yes, the inevitable first post after a long break. What do I have to say? We've been busy, but it's boring to just list what's been going on. An update on the "Mama's sad" post? I'll just start writing and see what happens.

Both of my babies are sleeping. I treasure this time not only because I get a little time for myself, but also because it makes me appreciate them more. Sometime I can't wait for naps, but when they're sleeping I miss them. I love Morgan's chatter and how she wants to jump off everything in the living room. I love how Piper constantly crawls up my legs because she wants me to pick her up. She's become a little more clingy with me lately.

Gram and Grandpa B came to visit this last week and David and I got a much-needed two night getaway. While it was wonderful to have some free time (and no diapers), I missed my babies. They had a great time with their Grandparents and only missed us a little. It was just the right amount of time to be away. I was SO excited to see them when we drove back in the driveway.

Mama's feeling a little better. I'm a little anxious about our upcoming evaluation. We have an appointment set for the 29th of this month to start a FULL evaluation by a well-respected child psychologist. This was the one we couldn't get a hold of the first time. I started calling her every day and persistence paid off. The evaluation starts with a two hour consultation in her office, followed by some observation outside the office. I'm not sure of those details, but all in all she said it would be about 5-6 hours of her time to make a proper diagnosis (or none at all). This is much more comprehensive than the one hour consultation we had with the other psychologist.

I'm still going back and forth on where I think Morgan is at. Previously I was resigned to a spectrum diagnosis, now I'm back to hoping we won't get one. Morgan started her once-a-week preschool class this week. She seemed to have a great time! There are 12 kids in her class and I think she interacted with them appropriately. There is a wide range of development in all the kids and also in age from 2-3 years old. So much happens during that time. I don't think Morgan stood out as being odd or different. As it is a parent/toddler class, we were in the classroom some of the time and also out in the lobby area having our own class. The kids were in and out of the classroom, some shy, some just wanting to show their Moms new toys, some not wanting to be in the class at all. Morgan came out a few times just to say "hi" or to see the fish in the large aquarium. When I escorted her back in the class she stayed and found something to do. She seemed interested in the activities and the other kids. I think it's a good place for her. We'll see how she does.

We're looking forward to a weekend of playing at the park and time with Daddy. We've also been more regular with our church attendance lately and the girls have been doing better and better in the childcare/Sunday school. It's good for us as a family. I'm also back to a women's bible study that I took a year off from and our church small group will be back to meeting at our house next week. It all just feels right and we need this.

There's my stream of consciousness for now. More soon! Ideas are coming.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mama's Sad

This is what Morgan said to me today when she saw/heard me crying. I've been crying on and off all day today. I think it's a lot of things hitting me at once. Most of them are thing I cannot control and just feel totally incompetent to deal with. I'll try to explain.

About a week and a half ago Morgan's speech therapist made a sudden comment...."Amanda (the physical therapist) and I were talking the other day and when Morgan is older we think she'll be diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome or something like that." Huh? Then she said a few things and quickly left for another appointment. I was devastated by this comment. Yes, we had a consultation with a psychologist in May who said she did NOT see any signs of a "Pervasive Developmental Disorder," her therapists, whom she has seen every week since January think she does have a PDD. I was initially very upset at how this was dropped on me, but since then have had a talk with the therapist and we've worked things out. All in all, I was more upset that my own suspisions were confirmed.

So...we are looking for another opinion. I've been in contact with another highly-recommended psychologist. We are working through the insurance details, but she said she thought she could have Morgan fully evaluated within a month. This evaluation will be very thorough, not just a short office visit. We will definitely get some more concrete answers this time.

I'm definitely afraid the answer will be Autism. In fact, I think I'm sure of it. In the past week and a half I have done more research and I do think Morgan falls somewhere on "the spectrum." Hopefully she is on the higher end. The odd thing is that I don't see it as Asperger, since this diagnosis does not usually include a speech delay. This was tough to swallow too, as she may just be plain Autistic and this lessens her chances of leading a productive life. The speech therapist said she is sure Morgan will be able to function well enough to have great success...but I think I need to hear that from the psychologist.

So, we have no diagnosis yet, but I'm in really dire need of support right now, especially from other parents of Autistic kids. I'm really struggling with some normal parenting challenges such as potty training and discipline, but I have no clue how to approach it with Morgan. With potty training she will sit on the potty, but she really doesn't have that desire most kids show at some point to accomplish this goal. Morgan is very much a creature of habit, so that approach might work, but the communication is still not there and that is key. With discipline, we use a time-out technique, but she thinks it's a game and it just doesn't work. Ugh! Maybe other parents with Autistic kids might be able to shed some light on what has worked with their kids.

David also left on an overnight trip...loneliness is the worst. It just makes me so sad when I watch Morgan doing her usual activities and she can't converse with me. She can't tell me how her day is going or what she is feeling or thinking. I'd love for her to play with Piper or try to teach her things, but most of her interaction with her lately is pushing her over. We've all been sick too, so I'm still wary of having them around other kids for a few more days. It's just an especially lonely time right now.

There's another fear that's starting to haunt me, that Piper will have development issues too. She's doing fine right now, but I'm so afraid at any moment she'll stop or slow her progression. We're also in the process of weaning from nursing and that is an emotional thing for me. I've felt such a nice bond with Piper this past year and I don't want to lose that.

So, that's my saga for today. I understand that it will be a process coming to terms with Morgan's pending diagnosis. There will be sad days, angry days, and days of hope and joy. We'll just keep trying to love Morgan the best we can and to encourage the best from her.