Since this is the year of the "Ranger" party, Charlie thought that Ranger himself (he is a boy, of course) had to be a guest at his birthday party. Since Ranger wasn't too excited about driving up on a trailer and hauling himself up to Dallas, we decided to go to him. Add to that the fact that Charlie was dying to celebrate with his cousins, and we just had to throw a second party at the ranch. [Sidenote: this sounded like a good idea before the birthday, but after the big Dallas party, cupcakes for his school celebration, and the LV party, Momma was a little worn out. Next year, big guy will have to choose just one. :)] Even though it was a lot of partying, I was so glad we did this party. It is SO special to see Charlie with his cousins and I love seeing how excited they are to see each other. They are so sweet together and just have so much fun. It was a great day, and Charlie was quite thrilled with his celebration.
Here is the big 3-year-old with his birthday banner.
The favors (mini Kubotas for the boys, horses for the girls).
Charlie wanted another Ranger cake, but I just didn't have it in me. So we went with his second choice--chocolate cupcakes with orange icing and camo "sprinklers" (they are harder to find than one would think; I had to order from Etsy!).
The central part of a Ranger party is, of course, Ranger rides!
Off they go!
Sweet Papa took 4 kids out and was gone for over an hour. When they returned, we heard Charlie screaming from quite a way off, "we went fast!!" Then he reported that everyone drove, and "Jackson drove all by himself. His feet can reach the pedals!!" Charlie is now determined for his feet to reach the pedals and is trying to come up with a way to speed that process along (he speculated that sticks fastened to his feet might work).
Sweet Meg drove down from Austin with Walter. Evie turned bizarrely shy at the party (perhaps she was scarred by the big Dallas party?), and wouldn't let me put her down, except when Meg got her. She loves her Aunt Meggie and was very happy to be with her!
Adorable, agreeable Walter is not shy at all. He loves his Great-Aunt Dede!
I love this little guy!
Addie and Jennie were such fun guests. :)
The men. Each of these guys fascinates Charlie. Robie because he is always doing something funny and crazy, which is right up Charlie's alley. Bryan because he is a HELICOPTER PILOT (need I say more?). And Bobby because he is a police officer and ranch expert. [Charlie loves to tell me stories about Charlie, Papa, and the Ranger, and lately, Bobby is starting to appear in these stories as well, usually in a fixer role (e.g., after the Ranger gets a flat tire (usually by driving into a creek), "who should come running with a spare tire BUT...Bobby!" Charlie thinks these stories are hilarious. :).]
Renee, Will, and Henry came out to the party as well. I didn't manage to get a picture of Will, but he looks just like Henry, just quite a bit bigger. :)
Here's Evie, feeling shy and very mad at me for setting her down. Sweet girl is trying SO hard not to cry here.
Here's Addie, pretending she and Evie and very good friends. :) [The tears started spurting a few seconds after I got this picture.]
We also played games...
...opened presents (with some very valuable assistance)...
...and ate cupcakes (with even more valuable assistance)...
I think Walter is praying that Papa accidentally drops some cupcake down to him. Don't worry, Walter, I think the odds are in your favor here. :)
Before we left, we had to fit in a few quick canoe rides.
These two are so funny together. I could listen to their conversations all day--they sound just like a miniature old married couple. They are really sweet to each other and have so much fun together. My favorite conversation of the weekend happened after a swim at Dede's house. We were all changing clothes before going out to dinner and Katie came out in a very bouncy red tutu-like skirt. Charlie looked her up and down and then asked, in a very serious voice, "can you dress yourself?" Katie proudly replied, "yes I can" (imagine this in her adorable, very high-pitched voice). Then Charlie asked, "can you TWIRL in that skirt?" Katie looked like she had just been waiting for that question and replied, "yes I can!" and demonstrated her best twirl for him. Charlie looked appropriate impressed. For some reason, that exchange was so funny to me!
Not sure how this happened, but Robie is a baby-whisperer. He works magic with my kids!
Happy Happy Birthday sweet Charlie! Thanks to our sweet family for celebrating with us--we loved it!
[I did make very clear to Charlie that the celebrating was done after this party. Perhaps I took too strong of an approach because on the phone today, Charlie told Ahh, "Ahh, my birthday is over! I know you want to celebrate with me, but you're just going to have to wait until next year!" Speaking of next year, he has already told me that "I'm going to get a bike WITH PEDALS for my next birthday." So much for the balance bike! :)]