new mexico

A Day of Rest

It was sad to say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa Sherman this morning.  It has been fun to share our new life with them, even if it was just for two days.  They watched the kids while Chad was in Honduras, and then brought them back, for which we are so grateful.
Church was good, Bible study was about faith as an action word, and the main service sermon was about the shield of faith, which was so appropriate as we have been learning about the armor of God.  We set up a play date for the kids with the friends they have made here.  They happen to be siblings and also homeschoolers.  It would have been fun to meet their parents earlier, as they seem like very fun people.  We have kind of started saying our goodbyes as we only have one more Sunday here which is such a weird feeling.
After Church, we opted for something that sounded fun, but completely away from our normal diet…apples, cheese, and crackers.  Caleb helped me pick out two kinds of unique artisan cheeses, Hannah picked out the apples deciding on Fuji, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious, Eve picked out the crackers, we checked out and headed home.  Lunch was fun as we took turns paring different kinds of cheese with different slices of apples.
It has been quite a while since we have had an afternoon nap, but what better way to spend our day of rest.  The kids all slept, with Me and Eve being the last ones up at nearly 6:00pm.  So late, we must have really needed our rest.
May we wish you all a good week.

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Diné Saturday Market and Shiprock Scenic Drive

We knew if we didn’t make a plan we would end up hanging out at the house all day.  Mom and dad wanted to do something with us that we had not yet done and we knew exactly what it was that we wanted to do, go to the flea market/Saturday market in Shiprock.  We all got ready to go out stopping at Dunkin Donuts for coffee on the way out of town.



Dad wanted to get some cash and being out of practice, I had forgotten to grab extra pull-ups, wipes, and change of clothes for Eve.  So from DD Chad and dad headed to Walmart, and mom and I headed back to the apartment and then on to Walmart so we could travel together out to Shiprock.  We found dad’s car in the parking lot and they were still inside.  Mom asked if I could get something out of their car for her and handed me the key.  I smiled, thinking we have keys to their car!?! It is our duty to move it then, just to make them feel loved.  Mom thought it was a great idea so we got in and and started the car moving it down the same row about twenty spaces. Just far enough to make them wonder if they were just losing it or did they really park it out that far.  We then parked nose to nose with their car and waited. They came wandering out soon and smiled as they recognized our car.  We had got them.  Dad said that next time we move their car we should put the seat back when we are done.  LOL.  I love to see him smile that boyish grin.
From there we headed to Shiprock and the Diné (Navajo people) flea market.


20140712-190709-68829301.jpg We had traditional mutton on fry bread for lunch (I had a piece of mutton no fry bread).



Also we got a new key ring that says hello and welcome in Navajo.

When we had seen the entire market thoroughly we left heading south towards Gallup a short ways. We wanted to drive up to Shiprock the geologic feature that the town was named after. We had driven around it before but were unsure of we were allowed to drive the dirt road that lead up to it. I had since asked at work and assured that we could drive up to it but not to climb on it at all for it was sacred to the Navajo people. Wanting to respect that we were careful and stayed on the dirt roads and did not climb on or touch the rock.

















We continued down the road, finding ourselves on a very scenic tour of the Reservation, including beautiful red rock formations and curvy dirt roads.  Keeping an eye on the clock and our gas situation we turned around and headed home just before dinner time.
On our way home we stopped at a little famous for the area tamale stand and bought tamales and Navajo fruit pies for dinner.


The tamales, bigger than most burritos, were more than filling and a great way to end the day.  It has been so fun to share four corners life with my parents.

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First Date Night in Three Months!

After a surprise (you can’t leave the unit unstaffed and all the perm staff are going) staff meeting that kept us at work almost a whole extra hour, I was very eager to get home to my awaiting family.
I thoroughly enjoyed my large bowl of watermelon breakfast surrounded by my three little baby birds mouths wide open for bites.  I had planned to push myself and stay up all day but I was pretty foggy and glazed over, so I decided to take a two hour nap.  Chad had to come wake me up two or three times before I was actually awake long enough to get my feet on the ground and my brain in first gear.  We spent the afternoon chillin and relaxing as a family.  Mom and dad asked us if we wanted to go on a date while they were here to watch the kids.  We jumped at the opportunity.
I had walked past Clancy’s several times in the last week walking to the coffee shop and I wanted to try it out.  It had a large variety of foods and would have something Chad and I would both like.


Chad had a Cesar salad and I had seaweed salad and sushi.


It was so nice to have alone time. We talked about all kinds of things and made some plans. A walk at the mall brought us to the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and dessert. Ending our date with a little adventuring drive around Farmington Reservoir.








The sun set as we drove back towards our apartment.


20140712-183236-66756292.jpg thank you God for bringing my family back to me safely and thank you mom and dad for a wonderful surprise date night.

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A day with Jill

With only two and a half weeks left in New Mexico, I feel my time is quickly running out.  Jill, another travel nurse, and I had talked about going and doing something together before I up and leave.  Well, it was now or never.
So this morning bright and early for us night shifters (8:30) I picked Jill up and we headed towards Colorado.  When Suzanne and Jeremy were here we had visited a little lake (reservoir) up in the mountains above Durango.  It was so peaceful and so beautiful that I wanted to go back and see it at least one more time.  Jill loves scenic drives and was game to trying to figure out a way to get all the way around the lake.  We did it! We were wondering if we were going to need the 4 wheel drive a few times but we did it, and it was beautiful.  So worth the drive up.  Here are a few pictures from the back side of Lake Vallecito.












After our rough riding dirt road adventure around the lake, we headed towards Pagosa Hot Springs in Pagosa Springs.  I had seen pictures and was very excited to see it for myself.
It was definitely lunch time when we pulled into Pagosa Springs.  Our stomaches were insistent on that.  We picked a cute little restaurant called “Hoggs Breath” named after Boss Hogg, the founder of the establishment, originally called Boss Hoggs Restaurant and Tavern.  We enjoyed reading the history of this little place as well as of the town and the hot springs in their newspaper like menu.


Finally getting Frito Pie checked off on my experience list, I was pleasantly
surprised by the presentation and flavor. Not bad, not bad at all!


The hot springs was only another mile or two from the restaurant, so we got there shortly after noon.  I had been hoping for overcast, maybe some rain, but no lightning.  Well I got my wish for the most part.













We decided to take the scenic route home through Ignacio, which took us right past Chimney Rock National Monument.  It was before 5:00pm so we went in.  There were no more tours scheduled for the day but we got information on the ruins at the top and admired chimney rock from a distance.  It wasn’t much, but it would do.


The clouds were awesome and we were wondering if we really were going to get dumped on, or if it would be dry rain again.


Then the rain started, and we both rolled down our windows to take deep breaths of fresh air/ fresh rain smell.  Are we in Heaven?  No, still Colorado!


Then it happened, the major Dumpage and Farmington/Aztec first monsoon of the season.

With wipers on full blast and windows down slightly more than a crack so we could experience the weather but in a smaller dose… It was pure bliss.
Thank you Jill for a thrilling, exploring, memory making kind of day.

Categories: Friends, Fun, national monument, new mexico, Road Trip, Travel Nursing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monsoon Season

Monsoon Season here in New Mexico is July, August and September.  Monsoons are very heavy rains that last only a short time and frequently cause flash flooding.  New Mexico and Arizona both get the majority of their years worth of water via the summer monsoons.  We have been warned by lots of people that they are coming and today on our greenbelt walk I thought we (Myra and I) might be in for our first monsoon.  But no, we were in for a different kind of experience, dry rain.  That is where it rains, but because it is so dry and hot the rain doesn’t actually make it to the ground before it evaporates.  It made for a cooler walk but I was secretly hoping to get dumped on.





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Assignment #2 Pending

We have less than four weeks left here in New Mexico. The time really has flown by. Shiprock has been a great work experience and I am keeping a list of the things I have learned here.  Although I am not ready to leave my new friends, I am ready to be on a busier unit again.  We have been offered a new position, and are madly wading through the paper work and making all the decisions that come with that.  It has been a challenge with Chad out of the country and with very spotty unreliable internet.  We are excited to announce our new assignment location as soon as the contract is officially agreed on and signed.
Thank you for all your prayers and support.

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What to say about today

It was amazing to wake up to the beautiful view of red rocks this morning in Sedona.

I wanted so badly to hike up in the hills and stay there.  They are just so beautiful, peaceful and thought provoking.  A place to think and get life kind of sorted out.  What an amazing gift we have been given in the beauty of nature and all the forms it takes.  We got dressed and ready to go.  At breakfast Mary Beth invited an older lady to sit with us.  I think our breakfast discussion with her may have been the highlight of my day.  We learned about her childhood in New Jersey, how wonderful her little sister was as a kid, life as a Girl Scout troop leader and much more.  I need to remember to open myself up to those type of opportunities to learn and love on someone else more often.  We may have gotten out of town later than we had planned, but it was well worth it.  The scenic drive to Flagstaff was also worth the extra time it may have taken and we took advantage of the time to chat. Mary Beth may know my entire family tree now.  The Grand Canyon was no disappointment either.  As opposed to the rain and snow we experienced when we went as a family, this time it was slightly warm with wind gusts that made you fight to hold your hair back as you smiled in delight.  We found a little trail that led down into the canyon and followed it down a few switchbacks.  It was far enough away from the rim to minimize the sounds of talking and laughter from above, and you could actually hear the quiet roar of the river below.  What an amazing feeling standing on a ledge against the red rock of the canyon in almost compete silence, only the very faint sound of the river. I could have stayed there all day.  It may have been the longest period of silence I have experienced in weeks, or perhaps months.  I could feel my heart just opening up to soak in the wonder and beauty of one of the most amazing sights on earth.




After some major traffic, we made it to Tuba city around 2:30 and got lunch.  We had wanted to see the Hopi Mesas, but did not see them on our map nor any signs anywhere, even after driving through the Hopi reservation.  It was a pretty long drive, but with the hymns playing on the radio we could sing the miles away.
Gallup for dinner was an interesting experience.  I had been told that there was this restaurant named Earls that had good food, and the Navajo people came to your table and showed you their wares as you ate.  I am not big on buying things because of our limited space, and I hate to have to say no thank you, but I was assured it was low pressure and a worth while experience to have.  It wasn’t at all what I thought it would be like.  It was an older looking place and the food was OK. The people selling their wares were low pressure.  It may have had something to do with the time, but there wasn’t much variety, and nothing that really caught my eye.  We watched the sunset as we drove towards Shiprock.  It wasn’t as much fun to show Mary Beth the area in the dark but we do have a few more days, and a few more opportunities to see it.  For now we are just glad to be off our bottoms and wondering with all this car time if we shouldn’t be more proactively trying to prevent a DVT.
Goodnight from Farmington.

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Gallup, Window rock, and Canyon de Chelly

A crazy drive, three shifts and now another crazy drive (pale in comparison to the last).  I woke up this morning, made some toast, did the dishes and took Myra for a walk.  We wanted to get out early as it was going to be a long day.  Starbucks and gas for the car were our first stops getting us out of Farmington around 10:00am.  I was headed to Phoenix to visit my Aunt and pick up a friend who had traveled there for work.
The first stop on my “to see” list today was Gallup NM, a historic town on the reservation along Route 66.  Gallup is mentioned frequently in “The Code Talker” and I really just wanted to see it for myself.


Gallup was bigger and cuter than I thought it would be.  There appears to be a mall and Home Depo as well as other big chain stores, then you get down town and you can just see the age on the buildings, but they don’t look rundown at all, just dated.  And in this case dated was good.  My next stop was only slightly out of my way and that is Window Rock and the Code Talker Memorial. I met a Native gentleman there selling pots who grew up in Salem living with his grandfather. It is a small world.






Only seven more miles up the road was Fort Defiance, where the Navajo people were herded and marched to concentration type camps down in the south near Fort Sumner.  Many pregnant women old men and children died on “the long walk” because if they stopped for anything, including labor, they were just shot as the rest were forced to continue.  It also was and may still be a boarding school where Navajo children were sent to learn English.  At one time all Navajo children were sent to these schools where they were treated poorly by the matrons.  I asked a Navajo friend when they stopped being sent to boarding schools and she said they haven’t, still on the reservation 50% of Navajo children go to boarding school but now at least
they can come home on the weekends.  Fort Defiance was very run down and looked like a poor oppressed community.




At this point I wasn’t all that close to Canyon de Chelly and it was north and I needed to go southwest but it was the closest I had been and I just couldn’t resist so I turned north for the 1+ hour drive.
In front of the visitors center was a hogan so you could look inside and see how it would have been set up.



I have to do some more homework on Canyon de Chelly but I do know that the Indians put up a good fight when Colonial Custard cornered them in this canyon.













I was not able to go in the canyon, or even see all the overlooks as I would have liked, but as it was I got out of Canyon De Chelly at 5:00pm and still had a 5+ hr drive ahead of me. I had some how turned a six hour drive into an all day affair. I have now made it to Phoenix and need to crash. Tomorrow is another day but this one will be filled with friends and family.

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Happy Father’s Day Chad

A Sunday drive after church lead us back to Silverton Colorado.  With only an hour to explore the town after lunch on Thursday, we left with out really getting a feel for the quaint little town.  We visited the shops that we had not yet seen.










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For dinner Chad decided on a little place that has been featured on ” Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” called Thee Pitts Again.






Chad had the Guy Fieri special.

Then we played at the playground by the school and public library and took in the sites all around us.







We had looked at all the shops in town so we decided to drive through the side streets as the houses are pretty cute. That didn’t take long and we weren’t quite ready to head home so we headed up the dirt road towards the mines.









The road up to the mine was so scenic that we decided to continue on up the road to view a little more of “the scenic loop” noted by a sign on the side of the road.























We didn’t do the whole loop because we had no idea how far it was and it must have been big because we did see a sign for Lake City in 30 miles.  It was getting later and this wasn’t the kind if road you would want to be on after dark so we found a wider spot in the road and turned around.

Just before we got into Durango there is a hot spring just bubbling out of the ground on the side of the road.  We had to stop and touch it.





It was not too hot, only slightly warm and was fun to touch and feel.


We watched the sun set over the mountains as we descended out of Durango, a day well spent.
Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers out there especially Chad, Chuck, Paul, Jeremy, Jayson and Great Grandpa Lawhead as well as to many Uncles and great uncles.  We love you guys.

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Homemade Cheese

Several years back we talked about trying to make our own cheese.  We looked up recipes and browsed the web for ideas, but we never did make it.  Then we didn’t eat cheese, so even though we still wanted to try making it, it didn’t make since to.

Well we are in a “you only live once” faze right now.  Not in the make stupid mistakes kind if way, but if you really want to try something like making cheese (a whole $5 worth of ingredients) then it doesn’t hurt to try it.

Mostly Chad’s idea but we were all excited about this little science experiment.
The items needed are:
-A gallon if whole or 2% milk
-something acidic we used 1/3 of a cup of lemon juice and 1/3 of a cup of vinegar although Chad believes it wasn’t enough acid because our whey was awfully white.
– salt (more than you would think because some of it escapes with the whey)
-large pot
-wooden spoon
– a large bowl
-cheese cloth (we used a nylon mesh bag, the ones that we use to make almond milk)
The whole process takes at least 8 hrs, but you are only actively preparing it for maybe an hour of the total time.

1. The first thing you do is pour the entire gallon into the large pot and put it over medium to low heat on the stove. Heat it up slowly to about 185 degrees, which Chad tells me is just before boiling temperature.


2. Then we added the vinegar and lemon juice mix, causing the milk to curdle.  Leaving it on the heat for a few more minutes as you stir the curdling milk.

3. Pour the curdled milk into the mesh bag or cheese cloth, in the strainer.  (We poured it onto the mesh bag then due to the volume of curdled milk, we had to change our strategy mid stream to pouring the curds into the bag.


4. Add your salt to the mesh bag or curd in the cheese cloth after most of the whey has been strained out.  The salt will pull out more moisture and allow for the cheese to become more firm.

After several hours we took the curds down and put them in the refrigerator, in the bag, in the strainer with some heavy cans on it to add weight and pull out even more moisture.

5. Time is all you need at this point.  Our directions said eight hours, but we left it all night and it still came out the density of a spreadable cheese.



Our first attempt turned out a little salty, but still a big hit with the kids.

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