The Tucker Family: Tales From New Mexico

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Fall is Here

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Fall is Here

Fall has finally arrived in Northern New Mexico and has been keeping us busy. We started off with a trip to Burley, ID for Derek’s Grandmother’s 80th birthday party and it was great to see family. Heidi and JW loved seeing great-grandpa and great-grandma. It was also a great time to catch-up with Derek’s family as it has been over a few years since we had seen some of them. We also stopped in Salt Lake City to see Nichole’s sister and brother-in law and show the kids Temple Square. It had been a little over 10years since we had been on the very spot, our wedding day, and the Heidi snapped a pretty good photo of us in front of the temple. It has been nice being closer and having the ability to see them more.

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The weather has been great and we are still riding in the backcountry and we probably took our last trip before the weather turns back into the Pecos. We took a trip to Stewart Lake and took along the pack rods and did a little fishing. JW and Derek were unsuccessful at catching a fish, something about time of day and wrong fishing rod, but JW had a great time. He also caught a blue golf frisbee off the bottom of the lake which he was more than thrilled with.

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The month of October brings the Balloon Fiesta to Albuquerque and Derek’s parents came down for the week which it decided to rain at the house all week. It was actually nice down in Albuquerque, however, the night we went to for the Night Glo was a no-go for wind. We still got a good fireworks show and had a good time showing Grammy and Papa around the area and even spent a day in the old town part of Santa Fe.

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Lastly, the pumpkin patches have opened up all over and the kids went down with our friends from Albuquerque and had a blast picking out their pumpkins and doing all the various activities (there is a pretty good selection of pictures in the gallery). Now, they are excited to carve their pumpkins for Family Home Evening this week and Mom is quickly sewing away making costumes. Also, JW and Derek were able to attend the UNM Homecoming game due to the wonderful generosity of a member of our ward and we both had a great time, and according to Derek, JW wanted food every quarter. Hope everyone has a wonderful Halloween!

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Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

Beatty’s Cabin and Family Portraits

We just got back from a great weekend in the Pecos Wilderness in the Santa Fe National Forest. We packed in on the horses and mules to Beatty’s Cabin which is 7 miles in. The cabin and the area have a neat history (see the book). We were able to stay at the cabin as we were doing maintenance on the cabin for the Forest Service. Some of the things we had to do were fixing the spring box, pluming from the spring box, and oiling the cabin. We spent 4 days/3 nights up in the wilderness and the kids had a wonderful time playing around the cabin, helping, and riding the horses. We went up with Pecos Chapter of the Backcountry Horseman of America so we had plenty of pack stock for food and supplies.

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We were also able to take a couple of rides back deeper into the Pecos Wilderness Area and had some wonderful views. It was great to spend the weekend with wonderful friends and a lot of the members of the group are like surrogate family for us and the kids. It has been great experience for the kids this summer to get out and camp in the wilderness and Heidi’s riding ability has increased immensely since the beginning of the summer.

We also recently had new family pictures taken again (thanks DeAnn Payne!). We went to small town north of Edgewood called Madrid. It is the place where they filmed the small town scenes from Wild Hogs. The town has a neat mining history and little bit of an eclectic feel with all the artists that live there now. DeAnn did a wonderful job and we had a nice morning walking around the town.

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There are a few more horseback trips before the snow flies in the mountains and the kids are begging for one more camping trip and JW wants to take the fishing poles. Every time we have had them the river has been too high or too low or like last weekend I forgot it at the trailer. Hopefully we will get some fishing in on our trip up to Stewart Lake.

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

10yrs and Exploring NM

Nichole and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on the 29th of July. It has been a wonderful 10 years and we love each other more than we did 10 years ago. We have had our ups and downs, struggles and trials, and many more joy filled moments. We have a two wonderful kids that are growing up so fast and are loving the outdoors just as much as we do. We are truly blessed!

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It is also monsoon season in New Mexico which can make for some pretty wet afternoons and lately weekends. We had a camping trip planned for the Pecos Wilderness and with the inclement weather decided to try our hands heading south where the forecast was a little more favourable (this probably wasn’t going to happen in the mountains, but oh well). We ended up camping in the Lincoln National Forest and riding in the White Mountain Wilderness Area. The forest is located 12 miles north of Ruidoso, NM. It has been wet down there all year and everything was green and the flowers were out. We has 12 stream crossing each way on the trail and were able to get Yuma trained on water and the kids had an enjoyable trip, even though we did get soaked Friday night. Their highlight was roasting hot dogs over the fire for the first time.

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Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

Summer Fun

We have been busy over the past month with summer activities. We have been in the mountains riding the horses almost every weekend and Heidi has become quite the rider. We also purchased another horse, Yuma MMR, and we are finishing Istu off so JW will have his own horse by the end of the summer and the start of next year. So yes we are now back up to 4 horses with more mouths to feed. Heidi has been enthralled with the wildflowers up in the Pecos Wilderness. The flowers have been spectacular this year as we have had a very wet spring/summer which has brought us out of drought conditions. The mountains and desert are very green this year in New Mexico.

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Derek also just got home from a week up at scout camp. He went to San Isabel Scout Ranch which is near Rye, CO. He had a great week and the boys really enjoyed the camp, especially since it had a lake and a good set of the aquatics merit badges. He couldn’t even convince the boys to go on a hike as they would rather be on the lake in a canoe or kayak.

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The kids have been having a good summer and I can’t believe we have a 6yr old and a 4yr old now. Nichole just finished their portraits and as usual they were goofballs the entire time. They are truly the love of our lives.

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Hope everyone is having a great summer.

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

Spring Riding and Camping

Hey all!

It has been a busy spring and early summer for the Tucker Family. We have been on several rides here in New Mexico and were able to go into Colorado for a fun camp out.

The first few rides and camping were in the Pecos Wilderness area of New Mexico as we spent a cold Memorial Day camping with our Back Country Horseman’s group. We did some trail maintenance and tread work in Jack’s Creek. As the name implies we were working around a creek, and the horses had a bit of trouble remembering what running water was. So we had to work on that a bit and they are doing much better, thanks to some friends and quite a bit of work.

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We did get snowed on a bit while we were up there and it really made us remember what camping during that time of year is like! Heidi and JW had a great time with camping and did really well for it being their first time camping out side of the back yard and for it being so cold.

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We also went down south a bit for some riding in the Manzano mountains and some more trail maintenance there. While there Heidi and JW helped saw the logs that needed to be removed and loved the fact that they could play with the tools.

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The last camping trip we took was to Colorado just outside of Westcliffe. We met up with some old college friends and their kids. The kids out numbered the adults and it was a ton of fun for everyone. Even though it rained a little bit it was a fun time. It was really nice for Derek and Nichole as well as it had been some time since we had seen some of these friends and their kids.

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So far we have been really busy and the horses have been getting  great workouts. Heidi has been enjoying Summer break and we also have been able to have some fun days at home. We are so blessed to be back in the Mountains and be able to share all this fun with the kids.

Hope you all are well.

Nichole, Derek, Heidi and JW


Spring back in the Mountains

Well it has been a while since we have posted. Spring has sprung in the mountains of New Mexico, or some days we still had winter. It has been a little bit of an adjustment to realize that we can’t plant the garden for a few more weeks and snow is still possible over the past few months. Especially as we see the gardens of our friends in Florida and how big and green they are. However, we have loved the weather getting warmer and seeing the kids really enjoy the mountains.

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Over the past couple of months we have taken quite a bit of trips into the surrounding mountains on the horses and Heidi is really becoming a good rider and spending most of the time riding by herself on the trail. The terrain we have been in has been rugged at times and she has handled it well, even the cold wintry weather we had last month. JW is enjoying riding with his Daddy and being outside as much as he can.

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Heidi is doing excellent in school and is getting ready for her progression ceremony out of kindergarten in the next couple of weeks. She continues to excel at Math and stated she wants to be a Veterinarian when she grows up. She loves her animals and being on her horse or playing with the dogs.

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Derek has been extremely busy with work and has started to travel again and is really enjoying the work he is doing. Nichole has been involved with the school and helping Heidi’s class and riding her horses again. Since we have moved to New Mexico we have found some really excellent doctors and have been able to get her UC under control and she has been able to ride for long periods of time and really enjoying it.

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Hope everyone is having a great spring. We are planning on being busy camping with the horses and riding as all the kids want to do this summer is camp.
Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

Winter Riding

Hey ya’ll!

Once again its time for a blog post. We have had a fun few weeks enjoying some snow and some warming temperatures. Heidi had her first snow day and the kids learned how to use a sled. It was so much fun to have the day with them and be able to play in the snow. They have really grown to love the snow and their Daddy could not be prouder.

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We were able to go on a horseback ride on the western side of the Sandia Mountains on Saturday. It was nice to get the horses out and the kids had a fun time as well. It was a nice day and it felt great to be able to ride in the middle of January, and it was fun to be able to explore a new area.

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Derek has been busy with Scouts and work both of which are going very well. The scouts are planning another camp out soon and Derek is looking forward to some more winter camping.

Nichole has been doing well with the new medication and will be off the steroids soon so hopefully the meds will continue to work. She was excited to get back to riding and her leg seems to be doing ok.

We hope you all are doing well!

Winter in New Mexico

I am sitting here watching it snow this morning and realized how much I have missed it and all it brings with it. The kids again are excited every time we have gotten snow regardless of the amount. Though James is now calling it Christmas snow and was upset that it almost all of it was blown away or melted the last time. We will see how long this one lasts as it probably will be melted by Christmas, though we should get more right after Christmas. Things are going well with work and Nichole and the kids are enjoying all the Christmastime has to offer around. I have posted our Christmas letter below for everyones enjoyment. It is a wonderful time of year to share the true gift of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, and that through Him all things are possible.

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Christmas Letter 14

Merry Christmas!

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so glad to have been able to have Derek’s Family come for Thanksgiving this year. It was the first time that we got to meet our nephew Blake as he was adopted this past spring and it had been almost 2 years since we had seen JJ so it was fun to see how much the boys had grown. Heidi and JW loved playing with their cousins and spending time with Grammy, Papa, Uncle Matt and Aunt Traci! We had a great time riding and showing them around downtown Albuquerque, as it was the first time any of them had been here. The weather has been pretty warm so it was an enjoyable few days.

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We have been keeping pretty busy with Heidi’s school and JW and Mommy were able to go to the Thanksgiving celebration, which was a pretty fun snack time with some games and costumes. Heidi continues to do very well at school and is starting to read lots of words and sounds some out that she doesn’t know. She is making us very proud.

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JW is busy being Mommy’s helper and we are working on his letters and shapes. He also likes to ride his horse with Daddy and is working on steering the horse a little by himself. He also had his first boy accident and had to get a staple in his head after bucking him self out of the Kubota and falling on the gravel driveway. He was fine except for a little road rash but if this is the indication of things to come we may need to find a closer Urgent Care!

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Derek has been busy with projects at work and with his Boy Scouts. They worked on their cooking merit badge this month and made some yummy green chicken chili casseroles and homemade ice cream.

Nichole has been busy with the kids and starting the new medication Humira. She has had 2 doses and it seems to be helping along with being on some steroids for a short period which she will be going off of this week. We will know if this medication will work in the next couple of months so fingers crossed this one will take.

We are looking forward to the Christmas season and the kids are hoping for some more snow soon so they can go out and play in it again. They had a blast a couple of weeks ago when it was snowing and they got to play in it. The horses and dogs all had to remember what the white stuff was and made some funny faces. Swifty who had never seen snow was shocked as he saw Summit running around and loving it.

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Love to you all!

Nichole, Derek, Heidi and JW

Halloween 2014

We had our first Halloween in New Mexico and we had a blast. It was great to spend it with our good friends from College, the Martinez family and the cute daughter Macey. Nichole made the kids costumes as usual this year. Heidi went as Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen and JW was a Knight. The kids had a great time trick or treating and brought home more Candy than they need or that Dad and Mom can eat.

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We also have been enjoying having a mountain fall again with the air being crisp and the Aspen trees turning colors. It is going to be a learning winter for us as it has been awhile since we have been back in the mountains with a colder winter and snow. Heidi is enjoying school and is doing extremely well as she is the top in her class, especially in Math which she loves. Nichole is having to start a new medication as it was determined that current medication is not working so hopefully the next one will work. She has a great doctor here who is really up to date on all the medications and has a good game plan going forward. Hopefully we she will be in remission soon.

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Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW