As years have passed and the number of drives to Texas have increased, I'm still not a pro at training my hind quarters to sit for 2 days. However, the trips still persist at Christmas time to go see family in Corpus Christi and San Antonio and I would never change it. We welcomed more family than we've had in recent years (mom managed to get a selfie with every person--it truly is the year of the selfie) and actually had kids to enjoy the Christmas spirit with this year!
All of Tía Dali and Tío Gonzalo's children and grandchildren, Valeria , Dawson, Madelyn, Joe, Ivan, Juliette, Fina, Luca, and 5-week-old Victor, came to Corpus from Houston, Atlanta, and Madrid to celebrate this year. Juliette, one of my wide-eyed 4-year-old cousins exclaimed that "this is the best Christmas ever!" as presents for 43 people were piled into a mountain surrounding the spinning Christmas tree and carols were sung. None of Tía Dali's grandchildren, except for Ivan, have experienced a Dueñas Christmas before and now I'm quite certain they'll only want this kind for the rest of their lives. These kiddos had unlimited Christmas cookies, got to play instruments with the tías, and stay up way later then ever before. They got to hear Santa arrive as his sleigh landed, jingle bells rang and then he ho ho ho'd out the door while all the Baby Jesuses magically appeared in their manger. It was my first time experiencing Santa as an adult instead of impatiently waiting for him to arrive while being locked in my grandma's bedroom and boy, was he magical!
As presents were unwrapped, Ivan grew concerned about how he was going to get all his gifts back to Spain. His sister, Fina, who was still jet-lagged, smiled at her feather boa and fox family, as she thanked her family for her gifts. Joe celebrated the arrival of new soccer cleats, socks, and kit kats while my grandma gasped at a plaque with her quote of the year painted on it that was gifted to the ragamuffins (scroll down to see!). Props to my hubby for grabbing some sweet photos of me playing accordion, getting the kids singing, and of them opening an envelope of a $100 bill!
Stay tuned for a post at our family's historical cemetery in Duval County, Texas.