Sunday, April 24, 2016

10 Reasons Why Living Out West Is Extraordinary

Photo Credit: JennyPennyAho
October 2015 Sunset in La Luz, New Mexico

I grew up within 45 minutes from the ocean and had the best childhood a girl could ask for in the fine State of Delaware.  I lucked out and got accepted to nursing school within a mile from the ocean and lived there for 2.5 years.  Little did I know I would meet my true love and move out west and become a desert lover at the age of 24.  Having a military spouse has allowed me to explore the western U.S.  We have absolutely loved living in Colorado, Nevada and now, the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico.

My childhood and early adult years were amazing and I wouldn't trade them for anything, but I am glad that our future children (whenever God decides to bless us) are going to have a wonderful childhood growing up in the western U.S.

10 Reasons Why Living Out West is Extraordinary

  1. Mountains, mountains and more mountains! We can escape the desert heat and be in the mountains within 20 minutes. 
  2. The best sunsets I have ever seen are in New Mexico.  I have lived in four states and none of them have sunsets like NM.
  3. Skiing! Although I haven't been in a few years due to recent changes in our life.  Colorado holds a special place in my heart.  I learned to ski at Breckenridge and Seth and I made three ski trips with our Vegas crew to northern Utah and Lake Tahoe. We have a local ski area less than an hour from us and I plan to get my ski legs ready in the fall to prepare for next winter. 
  4. No humidity! Zero, zilch, none!  End of story.
  5. No mosquitos!  I get eaten alive overtime I travel to Delaware to visit family in the summertime.  I don't miss mosquitos one bit. 
  6. Unique wineries.  I have only visited one winery in New Mexico, but I attended a Wine & Nut festival back in the fall and found the best wine in my local area.  My favorites are from a little winery in Ruidoso, which is less than an hour from our home.  I'm not a white wine lover, but their white wine is delectable and so are two of their red wines.  The name of the winery is Noisy Water Winery.  My favs are:  Tighty Whitey, Dirty and Big Legs Red.  There is another winery in Artesia that has a great bottled sangria too. 
  7. It's hot, like really, really hot in the summer, BUT if you have a shaded patio or umbrella in the summer, you are golden.  With the absence of humidity, you don't sweat like a pig when in the shade.  
  8. Local grown pistachios! Who doesn't love pistachios!?
  9. Fresh tostadas!  Our local market has a tortilleria and their tostada chips are out of this world!  
  10. Local salsa!  I have tried various brands of salas and typical salsa just doesn't cut it anymore.  I guess I've become a snob.  My favorites are from New Mexico.  My favorite brands are:  Pedro's from Albuquerque and Green Chile HATCH Salsa from Hatch, NM.
Have you ever visited NM, CO or NV?  What did you love about these beautiful western states? I'd love to hear from YOU! If you want to see more photos or hear more about NM, let me know and I'll be sure to share them with you!

Thanks for stopping by JennyPennyAho!  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Doing Something for Myself {& My Family}

05/2015 Our trip to Delaware included a pit stop at King's Homemade Ice Cream in Lewes. Photo credit: JennyPennyAho   

Experienced educators have told me that I need to "give it a year, the first year of teaching is the hardest, but it gets better."  Well, I gave it two semesters (almost) and I have decided full-time teaching is not in the cards for me right now.  I submitted my resignation in late March.  I will finish up the semester and a couple of projects I've been assigned and then I will leave my position at the college at the end of May.

You are probably wondering, why I am leaving after only teaching two semesters.  Well, during spring break in March, Seth and I talked until we were blue in the face and we decided it is best that I leave my full-time position and focus on our family.  I have given 110% and do a fantastic job with developing curriculum and teaching, but I care too much (is that possible?).  My answer, yes it is because it stressed me out!  I'm already a high-strung person and giving my all and then some, really took it's toll on me.

Some things  I discovered since last August:


  • Educators work more than just the 40 hours a week.  It includes nights and weekends and late night emails and grading.  I knew this, but not being able to "shut it off" and thinking about it the moment I woke up everyday was annoying & stressful.
  • Although, I care for my students and want them to be successful, there is only so much I can do to push them along.  It's exhausting dealing with students who don't want to put forth the effort.  I guess I'm a nerd, because I always did my best in school. In fact, I wish I would have cared a bit more in high school, so I could've aced AP Bio, instead of skimming by.
  • I miss clinical nursing A LOT! I never realized I would miss being with patients and just being a nurse. 
  • We really want to start a family and is just hasn't happened yet. We plan to focus on family right now and see where it takes us.
  • Seth and I are taking our religion seriously and we go to church every Sunday.  In fact, we were asked by our Pastor after our vow renewal if we would join a small group that meets once a week.  In January, we joined the small group and we truly enjoy learning more about ourselves, God and our new friends.
Reaching this decision was difficult, but I had a tremendous weight lift off my shoulders after I turned in my resignation.  Teaching is fun and I hope to return as adjunct in the future.  After I leave in May, Seth and I plan to travel and spend time with family and friends.

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