Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Mexico Trip 2011

We recently returned from a trip to New Mexico where we joined lots of the Shanks family to celebrate Nana & Papaw's (Chris' grandparents) 70th Wedding Anniversary, along with celebrating their 90th birthdays this year! They are such dear people. Chris reminds me of Papaw in so many ways; probably why I like him so much! He has a quirky sense of humor (like Chris) and is sweet to Nana...such a caretaker. Nana can't hear well and is a bit unsteady on her feet, but other than that, she & Papaw both seem to be doing GREAT! They take the time to talk to each of us & listen to us, wanting to know how our lives are going. The first time I met most of the extended Shanks family was when they were celebrating Grandpa's (Papaw's dad) 100th birthday! He went on to live to 102 (?) so it's perfectly reasonable to expect to have a big celebration for Nana & Papaw in another 10 years! :)

When Chris & I started dating, they were still living on Shanks Bros. Ranch, outside of Roswell, NM. I have fond memories of going to the ranch (this big city Atlanta girl!) and watching them round up the sheep, mark their ears, and brand the cattle. I even got to help a bit! Papaw was riding a horse pretty much everyday up until probably the last 5-10 years. He acts like he could probably still do it without much problem! The ranch is now being leased, which is a bit sad to know that the Shanks family isn't currently working it like they did for so many years. It's still officially owned by the Shanks for now. Time will tell what happens in the future.

When they were living on the ranch, they would come into town, to a little apartment, most weekends for church & to buy groceries. Living out on the ranch, they couldn't just run to the store anytime. It takes about an hour or more to get to the ranch because of the rough roads. Now, they are living in a nice house that is close to their church. It's a better situation for them at their age.

Lots of the family met at their house Friday night for visiting & dinner, along with even more family Saturday for visiting & more eating!

The girls with their cousins!

Ellie sitting with Nana.

I love this picture of Chris listening to Papaw.

This picture exemplifies Nana & Papaw and the way they care for their family. I love the way they are both intently listening to Katie, one of their 14 great-grandchildren.

This is one of my favorite pictures: Chris & Nana holding hands during the prayer!

Cousins eating dinner. Uncle Jerry put up some tents in the backyard which made some nice shaded areas for visiting & eating.

Ellie enjoyed having her own little table. Not that she stayed in 1 place for very long!

Love this of the girls with Nana & Papaw!

Back at the hotel......swimming cousins!

Ellie had such fun entertaining herself in the mirror at breakfast! LOL

Before going to Nana & Papaw's on Saturday, we toured Roswell and the alien souvenir shops. We were too cheap to spend money going to the museum! LOL It astounds me that so many people were in the souvenir shops and that people make their living selling this stuff! Amazing. LOL Uncle Mike bought the girls glow in the dark alien rings!

The girls with their new alien friends!

The 2 littlest cousins

Gracie showing Nana something. I loved seeing any interaction they could have with their great grandparents.

This tree was climbed over & over throughout the weekend!

The Shanks men! We are missing Howard (Chris' dad) & Ryan (a somewhat distant cousin...2nd cousin maybe? 1st cousin, once removed? He's the son of Howard's cousin.....)

our branch of the Shanks family

Papaw made me laugh many times over the weekend. When he would catch me taking his picture, he would do something funny...but rarely smiled with his mouth open. He said it was because of his teeth...he is missing some! He doesn't want to buy the plate for his bottom teeth (he has the top plate) because it costs too much. I mean really, who can blame him? He'll be 90 in August! LOL

Here are all of the grandchildren except 3. One is deceased, one was there for the weekend but not at picture time, and one couldn't make it. Also shown are all of the great-grandchildren except 3 who couldn't make it.

Our little family after church on Sunday.

Nana & Papaw at lunch. At one point, a wadded up piece of straw paper went flying across the table at Ellie. was from Papaw! :)

Gramps & Gramme

The great grandchildren climbing all over Nana & Papaw.

After church & lunch on Sunday, we headed out of Roswell towards Capitan. Mike & Erin's family came, too. The flatness of the first part of the drive always strikes me.

We stopped in Lincoln, NM on the way to Capitan and visited the Billy the Kid museum & other sites. Lincoln is where he spent part of his time....doing not so great things, of course!

The flatness of Roswell soon gives way to the mountains! Katie said she can tell when we're getting closer to Capitan because she sees the mountains.

Capitan, NM...straight ahead! Don't you see the skyscrapers? LOL (Population: ummm, maybe 1300?)

We were pleased to have cool temperatures while in Capitan for a few days. The days would get a bit warm but the mornings & evenings were so nice. We sat out on the front porch a lot. The girls were cold! LOL

This is the view from Chris' parents' yard.

We have to visit Ruidoso while there. Lots of cute shops to visit. Of course, the sea level Texans were struggling a bit at the 7000 ft. elevation!

Ellie & Cullen, visiting while shopping.

Monday night, we had family pictures taken. We, along with Mike's (Chris' brother) family, did this for Chris' parents for their 45th anniversary. We also took them out to dinner afterwards. We can't wait to see all of the pictures! Mike & Erin's family left Tuesday morning.

Drive from Capitan to Ruidoso.

Gramme offered to watch the girls if Chris & I wanted to go somewhere Tuesday morning/afternoon. After he helped pick up some hay & plant some grass, we decided to head back over to Ruidoso. We drove around some, looking at the shops, ate lunch, & enjoyed some ice cream. It was a nice little break with my handsome man! Love him! The girls enjoyed a trip to Capitan's new Family Dollar (although Katie was disappointed that not everything was only $1!) and to the Smokey Bear museum & park.

That evening, we went to one of our favorite Ruidoso places, Flying J Chuckwagon Supper & Show. It's just a really neat place to go. They have little shops & activities for the kids, along with a gunfight comedy show. Then, you get to have this awesome chuckwagon type meal...brisket, beans, applesauce, spice cake, & biscuit....all served on a tin plate, with lemonade & tea served in a tin cup. After dinner, the Flying J Wranglers sing cowboy songs. It's a neat experience. The owners are Christians too which is neat, with a prayer even before the meal.

Our little cowgirls!

The girls, trying their hand at shooting.

gunfight show


the girls, with one of the singers

We left early Wednesday morning for the 13 1/2 hour drive back to Houston. Loooong day. We saw these big guys on the side of the road. After debate, one of our friends who works for the US Forest Service confirmed that these are elk. They're pretty big, but the ones we saw the night before were even bigger...I promise they seemed as big as a horse! Scary to think about hitting one of those things with your vehicle in the dark!

The sky was beautiful so early in the morning....(ignore the dirty windshield!)

On the way home, Chris got to enjoy a few bites of one of the famed (to him!) Allsup's burritos. Yum, yum??

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