It's one vacation after another around here. (There's lots of work in between of course.) This time, a mini-vacation up north to Camp Luther. It's been a few years since we visited last, but camp is still the same fun it always has been. And it was a great place to get a few things checked off our summer list. We went fishing, canoeing, hiking, cooked over a campfire, and reunited with old friends. Walter drove Grandpa's boat, participated in the minnow races, watched the kids launch their homemade rockets, and played with cousins he rarely gets to see. It was an action-packed, two-day trip. I'm already looking forward to going back next year.
Checking off the list
Caught one!
Driving the boat
Cousin friends
This is Cello, Walter's racing minnow.
"Cello" the racing minnow
Campfire cooking
Campfire cooking
I managed to get a s'more made just before the rain started. And it was delicious.


Billmeyer Family Vacation - Part three

We spent an evening being cowboys. We went on a trail ride though the woods, with beautiful views of the mountains in the distance. Walter wasn't quite big enough to ride a horse. He and Nate stayed behind and he got a pony ride on Sandy, the "championship racing mule." I'm told he loved every minute of it and didn't want to get off.
On the trail
On the trail
The riders
Sandy, the championship racing mule
After the ride, we had a cowboy dinner, served lakeside on picnic tables with red checked tablecloths. Steaks, cowboy beans, baked potatoes, and freshly baked bread all cooked by our cowboy hosts. And it was good! I wouldn't mind being a cowboy with meals like that.
Cowboy dinner
Cowboy dinner
Jim & Sharon
We had an amazing time. An awesome vacation with perfect weather, in a beautiful part of the country, and time spent with a great family.


Billmeyer Family Vacation - Part two

While we were in Durango, Walter turned 5. Five! Can you believe it? He's such a big, independent, smart kid. 
Side note: We got his stats at his 5-year check-up. 3'11'' (98%) and 39 lbs (35%). He's slowly gaining in the weight category, and still topping the charts in height.
Since we were celebrating his birthday on our vacation, Gramma and Grampa planned a ride up the mountain on the Durango-Silverton Train. 
Another side note: Gramma & Grampa's and Jess & Erin's wedding anniversaries are on June 12, along with Walter's birthday. Our car had a lot to celebrate! 
At the station
On the train, with pancakes
Out the window
Scenery from the train
Steam over the bridge
Scenery from the train
Out the window
This was the shot to get - the train chugging along the edge of the cliff, over the trestle. The shot where the train felt like it was tipping sideways from the shift of weight as everyone leaned out the windows. Gulp! We made it.
Steep cliff in front
The scenery was beautiful. The ride was relaxing. We had lunch and a stroll though Silverton, then rode the train back down the mountain for dinner and birthday cake. A perfect way to celebrate 5 years.
Birthday candles


Billmeyer Family Vacation - Part one

We've been gone on a family vacation! The Billmeyers (Gramma, Grampa, Jess, Erin, Emma, Ginny, and the three of us) headed out to Durango, CO for a week of fun and adventure. I've got a boatload of photos to go through and I'm trying to whittle them down so as not to bore anyone too much. Even still, I think I'll break them up into a few parts.
Part one - Mesa Verde
Just a short drive from Durango is Mesa Verde National Park. We spent a day exploring the cliff dwellings and hiking the Petroglyph trail. Gramma was an excellent trail guide, spying neat rock formations and tiny lizards. She led the way on the hike (mostly to keep the kids from arguing over who goes first) and had us all spotting the yucca plants and cactus flowers.
Cliff dwellings
Walter climbs down into a 'kiva' in the cliff dwellings.
Climbing down
To the Petroglyphs
Gramma, the trail guide.
Gramma, the trail guide
Break time
Super hikers
The rocky terrain didn't slow the kids down.
Rocky terrain
The Petroglyphs.
The view from the top of a Mesa.
From the top of a mesa
At the end of the day the kids handed in their completed Mesa Verde booklets and were sworn in as Junior Rangers. It was a tough test to pass, but they all came out proudly wearing their badges.
Becoming a Junior Ranger
What a great family of hikers! (Please excuse Walter's grump face. He'd like no more pictures. Ever.)
Hiking Billmeyers


The party

We celebrated Walter's 5th birthday today. He asked for a sports party and at the last minute asked for Superman cupcakes. I went with blue frosting and red sprinkles and he was happy. When it comes to cupcakes, he's easy to please.
Five candles
Pillowcase race
Silly faces
Silly boys. That's what I get for asking them to pose.
Smiley faces
That's better.
Happy birthday to Walter!


An evening walk

We love an evening walk through the woods. Especially on a freshly mown trail. And especially when the boys have done a pre-walk check for snakes to make sure I'll be safe. :) There's always something new to discover, or old to re-discover. These photos were taken on a stormy night, between rain showers. I like the green color cast on a gloomy day. 
A walk in the woods
A walk in the woods
A walk in the woods
A walk in the woods
A walk in the woods
Since we're talking nature (sort of), here's an update on our back patio robins. 
Two hatched, two to go
This photo was taken a week ago. All four have hatched now and they are starting to fill out with feathers. The mama robin has been very generous, letting us peek at her babies from time to time. Unlike the robins on the garden gate, who have successfully chased me away for a while.