Greetings from the Highlands Ranch Fergusons.   Taking a cue this year from President Donald Trump, we seriously considered sending our Christmas letter as a series of tweets hastily composed in the early hours of the morning.  After some consideration, however, we worried that some friends and family may not have twitter, that some of the things that happened to us this year require more than 140 characters to explain, and that North Korea might take offense at something we said.  So, that said, we’ll provide the twitter version of our Christmas letter with the slightly more arcane and verbose explanations. Please, don’t forward any of this to Kim Jong-un.

Most notably this year, both Kyra and Nolan, now in their junior years at CSU and CU respectively, elected to stay on campus over the summer; Kyra as an intern updating residence hall bylaws, and Nolan as part of a team building a project for later rocket launch.  Byron and Toni covered up their extreme sadness by suddenly grabbing a quick bite to eat, catching a movie in the middle of the day, taking a weekend trip, or otherwise distracting ourselves to keep from crying . Maybe this summer… P.S. Nolan’s rocket could have gone all the way to the sea of Japan too, Kim Jong-un.  So, there!

A man and his wife visited the woods when they suddenly stumbled on a ravenous killer bear.  The man grabbed his tennis shoes out of his bag and put them on. His wife, looking at him with derision, said, “Idiot!  You can’t out race a bear.” The man looked at her and said, “ I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.”  

Toni, who had probably heard this joke a few too many times (from Byron,) decided to start run/walking 5Ks this year.   Byron, no dummy, decided to sign up for the same 5Ks, to make sure he could outpace Toni provide moral support.  Toni signed up for several local 5Ks, slowly building up her pace, and then, to finally put the bear joke to the test, Byron was sure; signed up for a Yellowstone 5K.  Along with others from Toni’s family, the entire clan traveled to Yellowstone to run their wettest, muddiest, and coldest 5K of the year. Byron, fought the grizzly conditions and barely beat out Toni, nervously scanning the trees for his final demise the entire way.  Fortunately for both Toni and Byron, we think there were some stragglers way at the back of the pack sloth.

Toni, unfortunately, came up lame at the end of her season of 5Ks.  Toni either slept on something weird, tweaked a muscle, or annoyed one of her 5k competitors who pulled a “Tonya Harding.”   Byron pleads the fifth. Toni in an attempt to return to Olympic / Yosemite glory, started visiting a chiropractor. Adjustments seemed to help, albeit only temporarily.  Further discussions with a physical therapist and doctor seem promising. Toni hopes to be back up to out-running-Byron speed, soon. Byron, meanwhile, is enjoying not having to run/walk quite as fast as he was, and knowing that he will not be eaten by a bear.

Nolan Ferguson, as we detailed in FCNL 2016, started last year in the “apartment from hell.”  Deemed unsafe by the city, everyone was evicted only days after moving in. The rest of the year wasn’t much better.  In addition to poor property management, Nolan put up with a health-code-violating roommate, slow-to-be-repaired appliances, and giant puppy-sized dumpster rats.  Nolan nearly submitted a paper on the whole ordeal for his History of Communist-Bloc countries class, but later decided no one would believe a word of it.

Nolan, highly motivated, started putting together his escape plan; which, based on Toni’s firm no motorcycles rule (aka the “over-my-dead-body” rule,) did not include jumping a motorcycle over a razor-wire fence.  Nolan, instead, found two other Aerospace students looking to share a condo. Nolan signed without even consulting Toni, but then Nolan would have stood at the crossroads and signed a contract giving up his soul- for his own door.

Unfortunately, Nolan’s new digs would lengthen his college commute significantly.  Since separating for college and spending summer apart, the car Nolan and Kyra shared “Bruticus the Toyota Echo” had increasingly become just Kyra’s car.  Toni, decided Nolan now needed a car for; bad weather days, bad weather nights, any nights, medical emergencies, and possible zombie attacks. Toni also decided Nolan’s car should be exactly like Kyra’s. After an exhaustive search, Toni found an only-one-owner, only-driven-on-Sunday, manual, red, Canadian, Toyota Echo with only a 160K miles on it that seemed destined to be the car Nolan would have disappointing experiences in for years.

Byron’s sister, Diane, jumped in at the last possible minute, however, and short circuited our pending purchase of Bruticus II.  Instead, informed of the Nolan car search, Diane informed us she would gift Nolan a car from her husband Rick’s collection of cars.  In a top secret operation, Diane would drive the vehicle to Salt Lake where we would meet her, get the car, and drive it back to Colorado.  Touching down in Salt Lake City, Nolan and Byron met Byron’s sister who carried on a “what are the odds” ruse until at the parking garage she offered up keys and title to Nolan.   Nolan, still trying to make heads or tails of what was going on, walked into the parking garage and briefly mistaked a brand new Chevy Corvette parked in the fire lane as his possible gift.  Dad Byron laughed hysterically and steered Nolan on to the one-year-older-than-him 1996 two-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee. Honestly, he still looked just as excited. P.S Kyra was nearly as excited about taking full ownership of Bruticus as Nolan was with his newly named “Blondie.”

Kyra, elected President of the CSU Residence Hall Association at the end of her sophomore year, prepared for her term by updating the RHA bylaws over the summer.  Kyra, now a communications major, who will, no differently than in past years, find at minimum 3 grammar or spelling mistakes worth mentioning in this year’s Christmas letter, may, as a communications major, be able to get college credit for her proofreading.   As President, Kyra presides over cabinet meetings, and other “stuff” that her parents do not pretend to understand. We do know that the other student government body at CSU- the Associated Students of Colorado State University, or ASCSU, had a bit of a scandal this year and THEIR President was impeached.   Talk of impeachment seems to be the word of the day when it comes to Presidents. There appears to be no such campaign against Kyra, so we’re taking that as a good sign. On hearing Kyra might run again, another student interested in the position said, “Kyra’s running? Oh, never mind.”

Social media allows for constant updates on Nolan and Kyra’s going ons.  Nolan is constantly snapping his 4 am delirium as he studies some advanced math or engineering.  Kyra snaps pictures of therapy dogs, kittens, and general goofing around at campus. In return, we tweet, snap, and post “revenge” photos of our adventures.  Byron, with friends, live cast the Eclipse from Nebraska. Byron and Toni snapped shots of food and fun from, at various times this year; dinner on a train, Mexico, New Orleans, and places unknown.

Even with all that travelling this year, both Byron and Toni are looking forward most to not travelling for Christmas break. Both Kyra and Nolan will be home for Christmas and New Years and the Fergusons will celebrate by kicking back and enjoying some relaxing time at home. Heck, and if that gets too boring, maybe all four of us can take a quick trip somewhere; someplace exciting, someplace the kids would really enjoy, someplace with very little phone access- like Kansas.  

We wish you the Merriest of Christmases filled with family and traditions!

Byron, Toni, Nolan & Kyra

The Fergusons