san antonio shenanigans |san antonio + luckenbach, t.x.

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When one goes to Corpus, one must go to San Antonio. Home to my dad's family and Los Spurs, we go up to hang out, eat velveeta queso and ghost-peppered pickles, shop, explore, and ring in the New Year.

This year, our mission was to find ballet folklorico costumes for my mom, so we ventured into "South San," where we found exquisite street art, a santeria shop, a huge mural of Selena, a low road-scrapin' dog (reference to our favorite children's book...worth the listen, y'all), and then Wyatt made his best attempt to blend in with an army of piñatas. We finally ended up at La Gloria, an eclectic Mexican Street Food cafe with prickly pear margaritas and tacos al pastor to satiate our hungry bellies. Wyatt later passed out with Grandpa Charlie's hairless cat on his face.

The next day, we ventured out to Luckenbach and Fredricksburg to go be tourists. Luckenbach, Texas, made famous by Waylon Jennings ("...Willie + the boys"), is a small used-to-be town that is all about beer and good music. We went real early in the morning, so we didn't get to hear any guitar pickin' but we did get to meet Virgil the Storeguy. You guessed it, he runs the general store, which is housed in the old post-office. Virgil is quite the joker and has the most unique and full-hearted and contagious laugh I've ever heard. He said he plans on riding out to N.C. on his Harley to visit his son and daughter-in-law at the coast. If you ever get out this way, Virgil, I suggest a good Eastern Carolina BBQ, hush puppies, and a solid craft beer. For those of you traveling to or through Texas, get out to Luckenbach, make sure you get an ice-cold Shiner, appreciate all the musical memorabilia, listen to a good round of guitar pickin', stay far far away from the evil roosters, and give Virgil a big ol' handshake and a reason to joke around!

New Year's Eve can be summed up in three topics: Head's Up, champagne, crappy fireworks. Either way, it's always a good time. Grandpa Charlie acted out a t-rex, Komodo dragon, a sloth, and an elephant while playing Head's Up. Wyatt went and bought a bag of fireworks, that ultimately failed to be as awesome as usual but were still a lot of fun. We rang in the New Year with champagne and kisses and many hopes for a great 2015.

New Year's Day: Rudy's BBQ + Blue Bell Ice Cream. No need to elaborate on that greatness.

And finally, today, we said adios (or a see you later) to Wyatt as he embarks on his journey to ABQ. He is going to live with our Tías, start fresh, and make awesome music. Godspeed to you and all your adventures out west (I also hope you finally befriend Chispa)! I expect killer snapchats, sweet instagrams, and all your greatness to beam out of you! Miss + love you, fool!

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flores fiesta | corpus christi, t.x.

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Our last night in Corpus, we had a party to welcome Chipper and Christian to town in addition to partaking in typical Christmastime revelry. And who better to show up than Tío Noe and Tío Arturo, as well! These are my grandpa's two youngest brothers and some of the most musically talented men in our family. My grandpa used to call them mocosos, or snotty-nosed kids, because they used to play guitar all day on the porch while he worked on the ranch. Either way, these two tíos can kill a ranchera, huapango, huasteca, bolero, or corrido unlike any other Mexican cowboy.

The night continued with long lasting Flores fiesta traditions as Grandpa watched over us-music, tamales, tequila, Jalisco, and Grandpa's favorite songs. Nothing will ever beat this tradition and I'm so glad that all of us crazy cousins are keeping them alive...even if we do need 20 pages of music to look at!

Props to my dad for grabbing some sweet shots of my accordion-playing, Frida the dog, and his sweet iPhone shot. Good job, old man!

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a corpus christmas | corpus christi, t.x.

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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.

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