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

Fall is Falling!

Hello all!

We are trying to get better at updating this again. Lots has happened since our last blog post. First Derek has been enjoying working with the Young Men at church and did his first camp out a couple of weeks ago. He really liked being able to build a fire because they needed too not just because they wanted too. Heidi is continuing to do well at school and her first Parent Teacher conference went really well. She is excelling in math and ahead of most of the class. JW had adjusted to being home with Mom and is a big helper. Nichole has been called to serve in the women’s organization Relief Society at church as the 2nd councilor. While a new experience she is looking forward to working with these amazing women. She has had some setbacks with her health and is going to have another colonoscopy so the GI doctor can try to figure out why she keeps flairing.

We had some visitors in September as Nichole’s Uncle Frank came for a few days and we had a good visit. He loved playing with the kids and seeing some new country. Derek’s parents also came for a weekend and were able to help us get some projects done around the house and workshop. They drove their camper down and the kids loved taking turns spending the night in there with them.

We took our family photos last weekend up in Santa Fe, we posted some on face book and the rest are in the gallery. It was so beautiful to see the aspens turning and to see the signs of fall and to have cooler weather. We are so great full to be here and to be enjoying the area and the weather.

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We hope everyone is doing well!

Mountains and School


We are getting settled into the house here in New Mexico and are enjoying being back in the mountains again. The people here are wonderful and we have already made some new friends and have gotten reacquainted with old ones. We went out last weekend on a trail ride with the horses up on the east side of the Sandia mountains. We had a great trip and the kids did great on their first trail ride in the mountains. Heidi loved riding Emma by herself and picking the wildflowers along the trail.

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Heidi has also started Kindergarten and is absolutely loving it. The school is close to our home and one of her friends from church is in her class so she has adjusted quickly and loves her teacher. She comes home everyday talking about all the fun stuff they did and loves to show off her work. We can’t believe our oldest has started school and how quickly time has flown by.

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Derek is enjoying the new job and all the new research he is getting to do. It has been pretty cool having neighbors and people from church working at the same facility. It has enabled Derek to carpool to work which saves on gas money and makes the commute more enjoyable. Derek has also gotten back into the mountains and went hiking with our neighbors to summit Santa Fe Baldy at 12600ft and find a few geocaches on the way. For those that know Derek he loves being in the mountains, especially up high and he loved the hike even though his body is still adjusting to the altitude. He also was called back into the YM presidency at church, so he will be at home working with the young men and scouts.

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Nichole is doing well and has found good doctors here which has helped tremendously. She also is trying to get adjusted to having just JW home all day, though it seems JW was the one who took Heidi going to school the hardest as he was missing his playmate. The first few days JW wanted to keep going back and get Heidi to play with. Nichole has also started volunteering at the school which will keep her busy besides chasing the little monkey around the property.

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW


Changes and More Changes

We have been neglecting the blog and decided to give an update. After we accepted the new job in Albuquerque at Sandia National Laboratories, Derek successfully defended his Ph.D. dissertation and finished his dream of getting his doctorate. It was a long road and it feels good to finally not have school to do anymore. Shortly there after Derek left to start the new job in New Mexico while Nichole stayed in Florida to wrap up the doctors appointments, the house, and the move. The rest of the family arrived in Edgewood, NM the end of July were we have purchased a new home on 5 acres with pastures and a barn.

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We then have been in the thrills of unpacking and getting a new house and barn set up. In the past 5 years from our last big move we seemed to have acquired a lot of stuff and this time it has taken a lot longer to unpack and we will have pictures of the house up in the next few weeks. We are loving the small town of Edgewood which is East of Albuquerque by 20mi. Our next door neighbors are members of the church and have 5 kids which have already become good friends with Heidi and JW. The ward here is large and really nice. It is a little weird being back in a large ward with so much activity but it is great being back so close to the temple and members all around. Nichole has found good doctors and has really been doing well and her new GI has a few ideas to continue to help keep her in remission for the UC. Derek is enjoying the new position and they are keeping him very busy since day one. We have all enjoyed being back in the West and near friends from college and enjoying the mountain air. Plus since Derek doesn’t have school anymore we are enjoying the evenings riding horses as a family.

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Heidi is starting school next week and we are excited and nervous at the same time that our oldest child is starting school. Heidi is excited as well and has loved all the school shopping with mom, picking out her backpack, clothes, and all the supplies. The school is only a few miles away and Nichole has already started getting involved with a few of the other mom’s that we have met at church. We are getting settled in and hopefully we will be back in a routine. There are pictures up in the gallery for everyone to catch up on what we have been up to.

Derek, Nichole, Heidi, aand JW


New Job

I have some exciting news, I just accepted a new job at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a senior level research position. This means that we will moving around the middle of June back west. This a wonderful opportunity for our family and my career as I finish up my PhD this spring. We are sad to leave the wonderful friends that we have made in Florida, but as John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go”. We are exited to be back closer to family and friends from college as well has to be near mountains again. Now the fun of the logistics of selling a house and moving (so if anyone knows anyone interested in buying our house let them know its on Zillow).

Out of the Deep freeze!

Hey all!

We have been a little busy lately so have neglected the blog.  Christmas was really nice, the kids enjoyed having Daddy home for almost 2 weeks. Heidi got a bike and James got a train set from Santa. Lots of smiles and pictures in the gallery. We spent most of January trying to stay warm and even ended up with some burst pipes in the barn. Derek had to replace and repair one of the automatic waters in the barn.

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We do have unfortunate news as Buck passed away in the middle of January from Colic. He was a great horse and we all miss him but we are glad that we had him for a few years and he taught our kids how to ride.

My health has had a little set back as the Ulcerative Colitis has flared up again. After a multi Doctor conference it was decided that I will start a drug called Remicade. It works the same way the Cimzia but they did not want to put me on the same drug again on the off chance it would make me clot again. Other than that things are going pretty good here, glad that our weather has warmed up and we are looking forward to Spring!

Christmas Letter 2013

December 5 2013

Volume 9

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas again! It has been another busy year for the Tucker Family with lots going on!. The first major thing that happened this year was Nichole’s stay in the Hospital due to the blood clot in her left leg. The whole story is on the blog for those who have not read it yet, but she is doing much better now and is able to do almost everything that she had previous to the clot. She was recently released from the Primary at church and is now teaching Sunday School for the 14 – 15 year olds and getting back to teaching riding lessons.

Derek, besides being busy with taking care of Nichole has been working hard on his Ph.D.. He just recently passed his essay defense and now has to finish up the research and write the final dissertation, and have the final defense, which should be in the next 6-9 months. He has been working hard as the Clerk at church and was able to go on a backpacking trip with the Boy Scouts, which was shortened due to the extensive rain.

Heidi has been growing like crazy and is starting to read small words, write and expand her vocabulary. She has also been learning how to ride the horses by her self and she is getting pretty good at listening to directions from Mommy, though it does help that Emma is so patient.

James has been growing too and really starting to get good at talking. He had to learn really quick when Nichole was in the hospital since he stayed with quite a few people that did not know how to interpret his grunts! He has also started riding and loves to be on the horse with Daddy and now a little bit by himself. He also loves the tractor so he and Daddy get plenty of time together when there is tractor work to be done!

We were able to take two trips this year as a family. The first was to Nebraska to see Derek’s sister Traci’s family and their new house. We loved being able to have the kids spend time with their cousin JJ and we all had a good time. We were also able to go to Burley, ID to see Derek’s Grandparents that live there. It was a big family reunion with almost all of their family there. It was great to see everyone and let the kids play with their cousins. Nichole’s family was able to come for Thanksgiving this year and it was nice to have the holiday with them at our Home.

We are so grateful as a family to all those that helped our family this year during our ordeal. The prayers given in our behalf were felt and we are very appreciative for them; and the continued support that we get from our friends and family. We are very grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the influence that it has in our lives especially during times of trial. We hope that you all have a Merry Christmas and are able to feel the love of our Savior at this time of year.


Derek, Nichole, Heidi, and JW

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Week 21

Hey all!

Just updating the blog about the Dr. appointment that I have last week. It was the Ultrasound to double check my veins and to make sure the stints and filter were still in place and working. It went very well and everything is where it is supposed to be! The filter was clear so no clots were attached or flowing through, which is a very good thing. The other thing was that both of my legs were clear which is the most important. The interesting thing is though that the right leg had evidence of a clot at some point in my upper thigh, but it occluded, which means the thinners did their job and allowed the vein to absorb the clot and allow flow to resume. They think it happened some time while I was in the hospital. So this means that I now have to wear the compression socks on both legs all the time. I admit that I am not as good about this as I should be but I am getting better about it. Since I was pretty much clear I do not have to go back until next year for a yearly Ultrasound on the filter to make sure it is still there and not getting clogged. Other than that things have been going pretty well. I am still gaining back some feeling in my lower left leg around my ankle, though the progress has slowed so I do not know how much more will be coming back.

We also have a visit from Grammy and Papa last weekend. The kids were super excited to see them and we had lots of fun. Papa was still recovering from his back surgery but he was doing pretty good! The kids had lots of fun and were excited to go to the beach. We drove to Mexico beach which is about an hour and 20 min from our house to the south east. It was fun to see a different part of the coast and the kids had fun harassing the seagulls.

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We also got Papa and Grammy to help us take some family photos while they were here and it was nice to have the extra hands! They turned out pretty good considering we had 2 horses and 2 kids to try to keep in line!

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There are more in the gallery so go take a look along with the beach pictures. That about sums up the happenings around here, we are just excited for fall with the weather starting to turn cooler!