It was therefore not at all difficult to decide on a theme for his third birthday.
Emmett's birthday happened to fall over spring break. Since we were planning on taking a little family getaway anyhow, Sean and I decided to pull all the stops and plan a cowboy overnight. So we headed to southern Illinois to stay in a cabin that we had rented many times many years ago (check it out!) and found an outfitter who was willing to take a just-three and a five-year-old along on a trail ride. That's right, my friends, horseback riding.
I let Emmett pick the dinner for his birthday night and, because I am a firm believer in showing up to rental houses with a meal ready to go, I was quite pleased with his selection. It was a three-year-old feast, ooey gooey super delicious baked macaroni and cheese (which I admit to finding by Googling "best macaroni and cheese ever") and a gigantic bowl of berries. I popped the mac and cheese in the oven while we opened presents, and it was warm and toasty by dinner time.
We met up with our guide the following morning and set out on a two and a half hour horseback riding adventure. This was no pony ride at the carnival - the trails were steep and slippery and there were more than a few slightly terrifying moments. Our guide knew it, and Sean and I knew it, but the birthday boy didn't have a clue; he rode in front of either Sean or me, hooping and hollering and calling out "yee-haws" the whole time.
|Big boot, little boot|
|The birthday cowboy and his mama|
This is the stuff of parenting dreams and, I'd like to think, three-year-old dreams, too. It was perfect.
Upon our return home, we had a cowboy-themed birthday party for friends and neighbors. I'll be back with the details of that, including an off-the-charts recipe for s'mores pie. Waa-hoo!