Merry #Fergmas

Have fun coloring to make us merry & bright…or hairy & knight…gold, red & gingerbread …sequined, bedazzled & well-travelled…or whatever you dream up!

Right click (or press & hold on phone) to save and print copies!

Share your work with us using #Fergmas on social media or email and we’ll upload it here. We look forward to seeing your creations and thanks for joining in to make this a wonderful 2021 holiday season!

Giant American Gothic Statue, Anamosa, IA

Here’s what we have been up to this year:

Fleur (3) started riding a a pedal bike on her own a few days ago! She dressed up as her favorite animal, the panda, for Halloween. Jumping off of beds, chairs, and anything slightly treacherous is her idea of time well spent. She is usually searching for fossils & treasures.

Frida (5) is the proud mom of her pair of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and their intrusion of babies. Along with learning to whistle this year, Frida has enjoyed swimming, piano, ice skating, and riding her bike. Always on the lookout for a bug or tree to climb, Frida is usually one decision away from her next hospital visit. She kindly asked Santa for a wooden partridge.

Iola (8) is constantly inventing, crafting, creating, and writing. Along with skateboarding, she discovered the joy of waterslides this year. Musically prone, Iola loves playing piano & drums and is finding her way around Great Grandma’s Hammond organ. She wants to be an astronomer, but for now helps build websites and takes out the trash.

Carrie spent the entire year drawing the Merry Fergmas coloring sheet and home-schooling the kids.

Ryan (aging grays-fully) cherishes bike rides & piano time with Carrie and the kids. He’s grateful to be involved in fun projects with talented friends: (Investments in large apartment buildings.) (TV Entertainment)

Chata is mostly blind, deaf, and 17 years old. She spends much of her time at the all-inclusive Ferguson Grandparent Resort in Baxter, IA. Lucky dog.

Best of 2018

Here’s some pictures from 2018:

Here are some Ferguson family stats from 2018:

  • 1 baby added to the family (Fleur!)
  • 1 surgery (Frida)
  • 1 hospital stay (Frida)
  • 22 US states visited
  • We stayed in the US all year!
  • 4 vehicles (2 RVS: Tammy which we sold in April, Chanel which we bought in October; We are still driving Hank; around town we travel in the Bunchbike!)
  • ~12,000 miles traveled (from sea to shining sea and all around in between!)
  • 364 lbs combined weight on 1/1/2016 (Ryan+Pregnant Carrie+Iola); 352 lbs combined weight on 12/21/2016 (Ryan+Carrie+Iola+Frida)
  • 365 sunrises and sunsets
  • 11 hotel stays
  • 1 house purchased

Circle Lake Superior 


A few quick facts about Lake Superior:

  •  Lake Superior is, by surface area, the world’s largest freshwater lake. The surface area is 31,700 square miles or 82,170 square kilometers
  •  Lake Superior contains 10% of all the earth’s fresh surface water.
  • There is enough water in Lake Superior (3,000,000,000,000,000–or 3 quadrillion– gallons) to flood all of North and South America to a depth of one foot.
  • The Lake Superior shoreline, if straightened out, could connect Duluth and the Bahama Islands.
  • In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than at its southeastern edge.
  • Water in Lake Superior is retained, on average, 191 years.
  • Some of the world’s oldest rocks, about 2.7 billion years of age, can be found on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior.

img_9215  img_9168img_9100  img_8891img_8817  img_8719img_8669  img_8421img_8272  img_8191img_7580  img_7471

We spent three weeks driving clockwise around Lake Superior.  We started and ended our journey in Superior, Wisconsin.  We didn’t plan much and took it day by day.  


​ Major highlights of our trip:

-Pebble Beach in Marathon, ON.  The name “Pebble Beach” doesn’t do this beach justice.  The beach is full of what look like dinosaur egg-sized rocks.  All smooth and beautifully rounded.

-We visited all of the National parks in the US and Canada that were within the circle: Grand Portage National Monument (Grand Portage, MN), Pukaskwa National Park (Heron Bay, ON), Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site (Sault Ste. Marie, ON), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Munising, MI), Keneenaw National Historical Park (Calumet, MI), Isle Royale National Park (Houghton, MI), and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (Bayfield, WI).  At each one we completed junior ranger activity booklets (or the xplorer booklets in Canada).  Iola earned 7 new badges!


-July 1st is Canada Day.  Canada Day is a day to celebrate the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.  We celebrated the 150th Canada Day in Sault Ste. Marie.  It was fun to see all the Canada pride! We shared in the pride by wearing white and red and flying the Maple.  We enjoyed some poutine while listening to “Oh, Canada!”  Our favorite part of the day was getting our picture taken with Canada’s first woman in space, Roberta Bondar!

-We celebrated Independence Day on July 4th in Munising, MI.  We enjoyed a small town, candy-throwing parade.

Other quick stats:

1 US Dollar = 1.32 CA “Loonies”

5 Libraries visited

1 Rock Mine

23 beaches

10 Museums



Sled away a Snowy Portland Day

It snowed a historic amount in Portland- 12 inches of fluffy, white snow (on 1/11/17).

The snow took out our power for a few early morning hours while we slept.  And since we have only electric heat, we were glad when the power came back around 9:00am.  We bundled up as much as we could.  I left all our snow gear packed up in boxes in Iowa.


Ryan found a cracked sled by our apartments trash cans.  We got a little more use out of it before leaving it back by the same trash cans.


We have been through quite a few snow storms but in the Midwest life doesn’t stop.  The Midwest is prepared for the snow with salt, plows and shovels.  Portland is not prepared.


We headed out on a snowy walk to find unplowed streets and sidewalks.  Portlanders were out in the streets walking, skiing and snowshoeing.

Lots of snow people made us smile.  One rather large snow person built in a park wore a black wig!



That’s our car, Hank, covered in snow sitting in front of our apartment building


We are now preparing for an ice storm this afternoon.  -Carrie

Celebrate Three Kings Day

Three Kings Day is the 12th day of Christmas, typically celebrated in Spain and Latin-American countries.  I made crowns with the girls on Wednesday leading up to the day and started talking about the day.  Ryan ordered a Rosca de Reyes cake.

img_3170 Thursday night Iola lined up our boots by the back door for the Kings to leave gifts in – similar to Santa leaving gifts in stockings hung up by the chimney.  We woke up to our boots filled with gifts!  Iola received a pair of socks, orange jello, M&M’s, and lemon gum.  Frida got a dinosaur balloon and a pear.

Thursday we picked up the Rosca de Reyes cake from a Mexican Bakery in Portland.  The shelves were filled with boxed cakes.  The smell of the cake teased us the rest of the day Thursday.  It smells so good!

We found a nice little Mexican bakery – 5 de Mayo Panderia,8416 SE 32nd Ave, Portland, OR 9722


Our friends came over to eat the Rosca de Reyes cake with us.  Traditionally the Rosca de Reyes has a baby Jesus doll hidden inside of it.  Ours had three hidden in it!  Iola found the first little Jesus in her piece.  The cake is the shape of a “O” – or looks like a crown or wreath.


Happy Three Kings Day!


Review 2016

Here are some Ferguson family stats from 2016:

  • 1 baby added to the family (Frida!)
  • 2 surgeries
  • 22 US states visited
  • 7 Mexican states visited
  • 2 countries
  • 4 vehicles (Carl, Ginger, Saffron, Hank)
  • ~12,000 miles traveled (from sea to shining sea and all around in between!)
  • 364 lbs combined weight on 1/1/2016 (Ryan+Pregnant Carrie+Iola); 352 lbs combined weight on 12/21/2016 (Ryan+Carrie+Iola+Frida)
  • 22 Airbnb groups hosted
  • 366 sunrises and sunsets
  • 11 hotels
  • 245 tomatoes harvested from the lakeside garden
  • 1 house sold
  • 33 blog posts

Happy New Year!


Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. -Helen Keller

2016 from Carrie Ferguson on Vimeo.

Drive Like the Wind

“And I’ve got such a long way to go, to make it to the border of Mexico.” Ride Like the Wind by Christopher Cross

We said our goodbyes to our friends in Guadalajara and packed up for our trip north.  It was hard saying goodbye, even to our favorite street taco ladies.  We loved our time in Mexico and we’ll be back soon, so that made it a bit easier to say adiós to the wonderful people we had the pleasure of meeting.

Our plan was to take the trip back to the US almost as slowly as we had meandered south six months ago.  We assumed two small children would make travelling any more than four hours a day almost impossible.  But, as it turned out, our girls were amazingly patient with being in the car, so we just kept driving as much as they’d let us.  Our marathon day was Wednesday, when we drove from Zacatecas, Mexico, to New Braunfels, Texas.  Google puts it at a 10 hour drive, but that doesn’t include any breaks or, most importantly, the border crossing!  Including those things, it was over a 12 hour day and we were exhausted.  We also cut it a bit close being able to cross the border before dark, but we did it and all was well.  We did the 28 hours of driving to my parents’ house in Iowa in four days, what we felt was pretty amazing, but we were all more than ready to not be in a car.

Here’s iola in her customary ROAD TRIP shirt.  Our time in Mexico went so fast, but then I look back at pictures of iola during our trip down to Mexico six months ago and wow has she grown!  Click here to see pictures of her in the same shirt in early November 2015.


Our first stop after Guadalajara was Zacatecas, where we spent a night and celebrated Halloween in early November.  I can’t stop staring at all the colonial architecture when we’re here.




One final Kinder Surprise egg (illegal in the United States.)


…and one final OXXO (convenience store) cinnamon cappuccino for Carrie.


One final Mexican potty break.


And one final run-in with the law…as in for some reason the police parked right next to us despite dozens of other open spots.


We had to stop into a Mexican government office to cancel the temporary import permit for Carl Car and then crossed the bridge to the US.  We sat in line for about 45 minutes before it was our turn to be questioned.  Frida was not excited about leaving her country of origin and cried the whole time in line, so Carrie finally just held Frida on her lap.  We must have seemed honest, boring, or sick of having a crying baby, so we got to pass right through.  That’s good, because I really wouldn’t have felt like re-packing the car, which was jam-packed in expert fashion.

Many Mexican stoplights feature all sorts of vendors…food, newspapers, windshield wipers, etc.  It was only appropriate that we had one more shot at buying pirated DVD’s while waiting in line for US Customs on the bridge over the Rio Grande.



Back in the US, yeeeehaawwwwww!


Couldn’t pass up an IN-N-OUT Burger in North Texas.


A break somewhere along the Kansas Turnpike.


Here’s Carl Car, back safely in Iowa.  246,000+ miles and still running like a champ.  Thanks for your hard work, Carl, you’ve never let us down.




Let the Dust of Mexico Settle on Our Hearts

We’ll admit that it took us some time to embrace the organized chaos that is Mexico.  If you want an always predictable, organized reality, stick with Hawaii for your vacations.  Or for that matter, the Mexican vacations that aren’t really Mexico, like the spring break destinations.  But for us, soon enough, the dust of Mexico settled on our hearts.

Mexico always offers unexpected experiences if you care to wander off the beaten path.  While the US has many good things going for it (very clean, much better roads, etc.), it’s not as easy to stumble upon such unique findings as it is in Mexico.

Before leaving Tapalpa, we went outside of town to the neighboring village of Atacco to where I was told a straw bale house had been built.  There are various ways homes can be constructed using straw bales.  They end up being much more insulated than typical homes and they’re even fire resistant because the straw is so compact.  The bales are covered with plaster and can look very nice.  I enjoy natural building methods so I was excited to go and try to find this house.  We stopped where we were told there was a natural medicine store.  The woman there was part of the women’s group that built the straw home as a model home to help encourage and teach others to build using the affordable & sustainable technique.  She told us how to get to the house, which involved walking through the empty town plaza, underneath a conveyor belt loading bags of corn onto a truck, and up a rough path past shanty houses.  And there it was, a beautiful little home made of straw bales, not quite finished.  I hopped the gate and lifted iola over because the women’s group had lost the key for the padlock.  I checked out the house, homemade ovens & stoves, water collection system, and composting troughs.  I never would have guessed there’d be such a cool project in this small, poor town in the middle of nowhere.

Back at the medicine shop, we browsed their garden that produces the raw ingredients for their homemade remedies & the old chapel that’s still standing.  We bought soap, skin healing cream made out of a flower, & eucalyptus oil, before heading out again.

That experience, and many others like it, is the reason we learned to love the unpredictability of Mexico.  It’s often used to portray the bad aspects of Mexico, but for us the positives far outweighed the negatives.  What nice, fantastic people we had the pleasure of meeting all around Mexico.  We made great friends both from Mexico and from abroad.

The dust of Mexico settled on our hearts and we’re excited to go back soon.



iola found a broom & dustpan and got busy cleaning.