Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ethan's Two-Year Check-Up and Party Time!

Though there was a lot of work to be done leading up to Ethan's birthday party, I think everything managed to go off without any glitches! :) We finished painting the living room just in time to get the room back together and cleaned up before our families arrived from out of town on Friday afternoon. Now let's back up a bit...

On Friday morning we had Ethan's two-year well-check visit. Since birth he has seen Dr. Kemi at the PAPP Clinic in Newnan, but with me switching OB's to one in LaGrange (and also the hospital where I will deliver), we thought it might be easier to also change pediatricians to one a little closer. It usually takes us at least 35 minutes (depending on traffic) to get to Dr. Kemi's office and once we (who am I kidding...probably just me most of the time) will be going more frequently with a newborn (and Ethan in tow too), I thought this might be too far. So, we made Friday's visit with Dr. Lisa Allardice, at Pediatric Associates of LaGrange. I didn't know what to expect because we didn't know anyone who also sees her. I was very impressed with their new office location. When you walk in the front door you immediately choose one of two doors to go into next - the sick side or the well side. So, from the beginning you have different reception desks and waiting rooms. This is, of course, awesome! No picking up icky germs at this office! Unfortunately, it went downhill from there...We didn't wait long in the waiting room, but once we got back into a room, we waited for 40 minutes for her to come in! :( While I realize that this may not be unreasonable for a pediatrician's office, the only thing we had to compare it to was Dr. Kemi's office, where we have never waited longer than maybe 10 minutes for a well-check. Yeah, we loved that office and Dr. Kemi!! By this point, Ethan was super, super unhappy and tired of being caged in a tiny room with us. :( Finally the doctor came in and started talking...about potty training. Potty training?!? We really hadn't even begun to think much about this yet. Ethan had just turned two...and he's a boy. Everyone knows that boys usually potty-train later than girls. He still wakes up in the morning with diapers sopping wet and has given us no indication that he is anywhere ready for going on the potty. Yet this doctor seemed to think that we needed to be pushing it on him already without even really asking us much about him and his development at this point. :( Ugh! She went on to discuss several other things and the more she talked, the more I started to tune out. While Ethan suffered over a month of sinusitis last fall and I fear that he may have inherited my terrible allergies, this doctor wanted us to start giving him OTC allergy meds without so much as an allergy consult to see if he really has allergies or not!! Seriously?!? Did she really think we wanted to just start drugging our child up, just in case?? Needless to say, it was quite a miserable visit and by the time we left the office, Josh and I had already decided we would not be going back there again. After all that lecturing, the doctor never even asked us if we had any questions or concerns, just pretty much ran out of the room when she was done saying what she wanted to say. Not a good experience at all! So, I have now set up an appointment to see another pediatrician in LaGrange - Dr. Kalyani Rajeev, at Kid Station Pediatrics. One of Josh's co-workers uses this doctor and they seem to like her, so we're hoping this next visit goes much better than the last! I guess if it doesn't, we may just suck it up and make the drive to Newnan since we love Dr. Kemi so much! I also decided that instead of just starting Ethan on allergy meds as advised, we are going to take him to see a specialist to be tested to see if we really need to do so. For this, I made an appointment for him to see Dr. Robert Cartwright, of the Allergy Center at Brookstone, next month. I like that he is certified in both Pediatrics and Allergy and hope that we can get some answers at this visit. We're also set up for Ethan's first dentist visit with Dr. Angela Patterson in LaGrange. That should be fun and exciting! haha. We'll see how that goes this upcoming week...

As part of his check-up they did the usual height and weight measurements. We were not surprised to learn that Ethan has continued to top the height charts, but not so much on the weight side. He was measured at 36.5 inches tall and 27.6 pounds. For his age, this puts him in the 90-97th percentile for height, and just under the 50th percentile for weight. That is actually an increase for him with the weight, so that is good. When comparing his height-to-weight ratio though with others of his age, he falls in just the 3rd-10th percentile. So, he is still super tall and skinny! I guess Josh and I were both super skinny when we were little, so this makes sense. Now we'll just have to wait and see if he continues the trend. Using the predictor of adult height that a 2-year-old boy is half their future height, that means Ethan should measure in someday at 6'1". That is probably about right since Josh is 6' tall. I'm just happy to see he won't be a shrimp like me! ;)

After all the excitement of the morning, on Friday night, we all (my parents, Josh's parents and his brother, Jared) went out to eat together at Red Robin. We had a nice meal and even had them sing to Ethan for his birthday! :) I don't think he cared about the singing so much, but was anxious to get a taste of the huge ice cream sundae they brought out with them! ;) After dinner I picked up the party balloons at Party City and we headed home. For future reference, if you get the special "high float" added to the helium balloons to make sure they will last through your party...they will. Though they claimed it would make those little latex balloons last just 24-36 hours extra (and they usually last maybe 12 hours normally), the latex ones actually managed to survive almost an entire week afloat! It finally hit the ground here sometime yesterday. The big mylar balloons are still going strong, so Ethan has been enjoying his birthday balloons all week now! :)

On Saturday we began getting the house decorated for the party and I started decorating the cake. The theme for the party was Thomas the Tank Engine. Ethan is a big fan of trains, so I thought this would be fun for him. I had lots of cute ideas in mind and we executed a few of them. I had sent out the party invitations, that I created, a few weeks ahead of time, announcing the theme. Here is a generic version (in case there are any weirdos out there reading this)!

I bought all the decorations and party supplies at Party City, as they had a nice selection of Thomas items. To their "Happy Birthday" banner, I created an "Ethan" to personalize it more.

Using some plain, white canvas drawstring backpacks that I found at Michaels, I created personalized favor bags for all of the kids who would be attending. I downloaded images of Thomas (for the boys) and Rosie (for the girls) and then added the child's name to it and printed it out on an iron-on transfer. I affixed these to the bags and used them to hold all the goodies! :) I bought Thomas balls, Thomas bath toy squirters (found exclusively at Target), created Thomas coloring books (by printing coloring sheets out from the Thomas website, adding a cover and "sewing" it together), and threw in some Crayola crayons. Here are some pics...

Then came the cake. Whew! I had no idea it would end up taking me hours to bake and decorate it, but of course, it did! I started by making two batches of homemade vanilla sheet cake, baked in two-12" x 17" jellyroll pans. I cut each layer in half and stacked them all to make a four-layer cake. Between the layers, I decided to add a little flavor so I bought raspberry and almond filling and alternated those between the layers. I love this cake recipe because it is super moist and delicious! It is the same recipe my mom used for my birthday cakes when I was little, and still my favorite cake today! :)

I topped the cake off with a layer of homemade buttercream icing, then started working on the fondant. I had never used fondant before, but wanted to give it a try because I love how awesome it looks on all of the cake decorating shows. I bought a big 5-pound box of pre-made white fondant, at Michaels, and some gel icing to color it. Coloring fondant is no easy task! It took much kneading to get some green gel color all worked in to 2.5 lbs of fondant, but finally it worked. I used latex gloves to protect my hands from the color and then sprayed them with some oil cooking spray too, to keep the fondant from sticking too much to the gloves. I rolled out a big piece and then covered the cake with the green. Around the cake, on the cake board, I spread some blue buttercream icing and topped that with some blue sparkle gel icing that I found at Walmart. This was to represent the water around the "Island of Sodor" cake that I had made. To decorate the top of the cake, I colored some more fondant gray. I rolled this out and then cut out a big "2" to act as a train track. Then I made some small black pieces for the cross-ties. I set one of Ethan's wooden Thomas engines on the track and wrote "Happy Birthday Ethan" with the blue sparkle gel icing. I thought it turned out pretty well, especially for my first attempt at fondant! I definitely need to learn how to properly do corners though....haha!

Here is one of my favorite pics of Ethan from the day....

Yes, I think he was slightly afraid of the small candle that was burning on top of his cake. He also wasn't a huge fan of being sung to by a roomful of people either! :( Oh well. He still had a great time opening all of his gifts and enjoying the feast (hot dogs, hamburgers, homemade mac 'n cheese, baked beans, chips, and fruit with homemade dip) that we prepared for everyone.

After the party, I sent out thank you notes for all of the gifts he received using a matching design I created. :)

All in all, it was a great day celebrated with friends and family and I definitely need a year-long break before the next one! ;)

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