Talk About a Home Birth

Our beautiful new baby: Frida Ayn, born at home in the Santa Teresita neighborhood of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico

Arrived at 4:15 PM on Friday, February 26, 2016

Weight: 3830 grams (8.44 lbs), Height: 52 cm (20.5 inches)

Big thanks to Maria, Francesca, and Lupita of Casa Aramara!!

Carrie has had two natural births at home, each time with wonderful midwives.  Each birth has been in a comfortable environment and the results have shown it.  No medical intervention, healthy babies, no drugs, and no tearing (fast healing time!)  In Carrie’s words, “If a birth can be relaxing, each one of them was.”  If you or anyone you know is considering different options for having a baby, we’d highly recommend looking into home birth options!  Take a destination birth trip to Casa Aramara in Mexico, consider Genea Birth (midwives for iola) if you’re in or near Minnesota, or have a look at all the many talented midwives all over the world.  For skeptics, we consider it to be as safe (if not safer) than hospital births and you’re welcome to contact us if you’d like to hear more!

And now, lots of pictures!!
















Keep on Hiking

Carrie’s due date was a few days ago, but no baby yet!  Instead Carrie keeps coming up with more and more fun stuff to do.  Two days ago we hiked into the Barranca de Oblatos (canyon) and yesterday we visited the Guachimontones archaeological site.  Both involved a decent amount of physical activity hiking up and down some serious inclines.  Carrie just smiles and does it…they were her ideas after all.

The Oblatos Canyon is right on the northeast edge of Guadalajara and is a gorgeous place.  Lots of people arrived after work to exercise on the paths leading down into the canyon.



Guachimontones archaeological site is quite different from previous ruins we’ve visited.  Large stepped circular pyramids are the focal point of the many outlying structures surrounding them.  The hike up was steep.  The sign below says pregnant women, people over 60, and anyone with a disability is allowed to drive up the road to the ruins; everyone else must walk.  Despite qualifying for multiple reasons, we chose to walk (more specifically, Carrie decided we’d walk).



We bought a $2 kite at the gift shop that wouldn’t fly despite perfect kite winds.  We had some good laughs trying though.  Even the security guy (green shirt) was helping us try to get it going and to re-configure the kite to no avail.  In the end the only thing it was good for was shading our already sunburned faces.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful place to fail at flying a kite.








Antique Outside

The word for what we’d call “outdoor markets” in English is tianguis in Mexican Spanish.  Sometimes there are mixed tianguis, meaning there will be a mix of clothes vendors, food, fruit, tools, etc.  Often there are specifically themed tianguis, like all fruit & veggies, all clothes, all hippie stuff (no joke), all car parts, etc.  On Sunday we went to an antique themed tianguis.  This is one of the coolest themed tianguis we’ve been to.  Something we keep repeating at every tianguis is, “Wow, that is amazing they set all this up just for one day!”  It really is incredible the amount of stuff vendors will bring in and set up for the day, only to transport most of it back home later in the day.





We stopped for street tacos on the way home.  Mmmm.


For dinner we did the exact opposite of eat street tacos: we ate at the Cheesecake Factory.



Shake that Tlaquepaque

Tlaquepaque is a well-known artsy town on the edge of Guadalajara.  It has the same ring to it as “Laffy Taffy,” at least in my head (pronounced Tlah-kay-pah-kay).  So for our visit to the lovely town I had one of the worst songs ever stuck in my head, Laffy Taffy by D4L.

It’s a popular tourist destination, which means it’s charming but a little too refined for my tastes.  The architecture is beautiful.  The stores and restaurants are modern and swanky, at least in the pedestrian-only artsy tourist zone.  I gravitate more toward the hole-in-the-wall joints that are predominant in most of Mexico, but I’ll admit it was fun to feel fancy for a day.  Carrie’s goal was to find Mexican jumping beans. Unfortunately El Niño weather patterns ruin all the fun.  A street vendor explained that last year it rained earlier than it would have, which means the “beans” (actually moth larva in seed pods) had a shortened lifespan.  So no jumping beans, but it was a gorgeous day for walking around and seeing the unique town.







wp-1456189224499.jpgWe did find parts of the town that were more of the “dusty” Mexico I’ve come to love.wp-1456189033542.jpg






Call Dad a Good Sport

My dad is probably the most humble guy I know.  I’ve read here and there about the philosophy of stoicism over the last few years.  I think Dad is a Stoic even though he doesn’t know it.  He’s always been willing to laugh right along with us whenever we poke fun at him, usually for his attire.  Well, he gave us plenty of material for our trip to the Guadalajara Zoo.  No, his outfit wasn’t planned and, yes, he gave me permission to write about this.  He referred to himself as Marlin Perkins all day.  Mom called him Crocodile Hunter.  I called him Safari Dan.  Carrie laughed.  Iola just called him Grandpa; gotta love child non-judgmentalness.



The Guadalajara Zoo was very impressive, absolutely not what I expected.  While I’ve never been to the San Diego Zoo to compare, people have written the Guadalajara Zoo tops it.  iola’s favorite part was the train, with the squirrel monkeys coming in a close 2nd.


You can walk through a double door system and go in with the squirrel monkeys.  They were curious little devils.  You had to watch your pockets.  They loved iola’s stroller.





The view from the zoo was equally as scenic.



Mexico offers plenty of animal interaction even outside zoos.  While waiting for our Uber car to take us home, two horses trotted down the street with no owner in sight in a city bigger than Boston.


Until next time, Marlin.



Size Up the City

The ability to leave our house & go on foot to find whatever we need need is priceless, not to mention much healthier.  On our block alone there are four different small stores, and within a few blocks there’s pretty much anything you could ever think of.  Carl has barely left the garage since we arrived in Guadalajara, and that feels very nice.  We frequently walk to see the historic areas of the city.  On the other hand, if you’re looking for modern stuff, Guadalajara also has sprawling luxury suburbs.  Over the last few days we’ve taken my parents to see both the old, historic district, and the new ‘burbs with fancy malls and chain restaurants.  They’re both fun to see in their own ways.  There are so many beautiful sides to Mexico that most Americans would never imagine.





The city’s main market is HUGE!  It’s very difficult to describe.  There are multiple stories of vendor after vendor.  It’s divided into categories.  So in shoe land, for example, there are probably 100 vendors that only sell shoes.  There’s electronics land, fruit land, spice land, pet land, musical instrument land, handiwork land, clothes land, and on and on.  You could wander for hours and not see everything.  It’s cool and overwhelming at the same time.




The next day we did a 180 and walked around a fancy mall in a fancy suburb.


We ate dinner at a Chuck E. Cheese sort of place called Peter Piper Pizza.  Again, not what I thought I’d be doing in Mexico, but fun nonetheless.  iola won the 250 ticket jackpot on a game, which we thought was amazing, but then five minutes later she did it again!  The funny part is since she’s never been to a place like this before, from now on she’s going to be disappointed when the machine only gives her four tickets.   I wish I knew how to choose a different freeze-frame preview of a video.

And there’s always time for relaxing at the house.



Take a Trip to Tequila Town


The Ferguson’s took Tequila, Mexico by storm.  Next time we’ll call ahead so they’re ready for us.  I’ve tallied up the results for the tequila each of us drank, and….wait for it…we officially drank zero ounces of the fermented agave delicacy for which Mexico is known worldwide.  We also bought zero bottles to go, likely making us the most boring and least economically stimulating visitors ever to have visited the town of Tequila.  But Tequila was not the most boring town we’ve ever been visitors to.  The landscape around the town is gorgeous; row after row of dusty blue agave fields with steep mountains as a backdrop.  The town itself is a designated Magic Town by the Mexican government, just like Comala, Mazamitla & Pátzcuaro, and with good reason.  The well-preserved colonial Spanish architecture is charming, to say the least, in addition to the town’s legacy of tequila distilleries.











Did you know Jose Cuervo means “Joseph Crow”?


In perfect fashion for Grandpa & Grandma’s visit, below is the Grandparent’s Tequila Distillery.


Put yourself back in college.  You saved up enough money to stay at a crappy old hotel in Panama City for spring break.  You’re at a bar trying to look cool for the ladies.  The DJ screams in the mic, “DID SOMEONE CALL THE TEQUILA POLICE?!!!!”  That probably never happened, but the real Tequila Police did.  Sorry, I can only think of spring break jokes when I think of tequila, even though I never went on spring break.


Just to prove I had zero drinks of Tequila, here’s my parallel parking job, probably the finest of my time.  I squeezed into a spot just inches longer than the car itself.




Reunite for Saint Valentine

iola received the best Valentine’s Day present she ever could have hoped for…Grandma & Grandpa Ferguson showed up in Mexico.  There was a brief warming up period, as in about 15 seconds, and then iola was back in her groove of being with her best friends.


Carrie’s been wanting to see as much as possible before baby #2 arrives.  She somehow has more energy than all the rest of us, probably her vibrant desire to see new things.  For example, by writing this post right now I’m holding up the show on leaving the house to go see stuff.

Earlier this week we drove to the west of Guadalajara into agave country.  First stop: Magdalena.  It’s a cute little town known for it’s jewelry stores that sell opals from nearby mines.  We shopped, ate ice cream, and walked around the town.





The beautiful dark black volcanic rock Obsidian is also common, thanks to the now-dormant Tequila Volcano.  That sounds more like a device Señor Frogs would offer crazy spring breakers, but no, there is a real Tequila Volcano.  The rock is so prevalent that at one point most of the cobblestone roads were made of it.  Below it’s used as decorative inlay in Magdalena’s town plaza.







People here love touching iola, the little blondie.  I captured this moment by accident.



Hear Chicken from Above

Speakers blaring from cars are commonplace here. They’re selling goods or offering to buy your old appliances & scrap metal, as a couple examples. The rumor we’ve heard is that they’ll use speakers in airplanes to advertise, as I mentioned in a previous post. I wasn’t willing to believe that until I saw it for myself.

Well, it’s official. A small airplane with a loudspeaker advertising Pollo Pepe, a chain of chicken restaurants, has been circling Guadalajara all morning. Buy a chicken and a side and get a half chicken free!