Monday, October 27, 2008

T & J at the hitchin' post

October has been all about Texas for us. We just couldn't get enough of the place this month!

We were lucky to get invited back to Austin for Tristan and Jessica's wedding this past weekend, and it was a beautiful, beautiful time. The wedding was absolutely lovely and we enjoyed perfect sunny weather all weekend and lots of terrific company. It was a little bit bittersweet though as the long weekend just wasn't enough time to see everyone and do everything---so we guess we'll just have to come back!

Our excitement about our return to Austin began to stir on the connecting leg of our journey from Houston to Austin when all of the sudden we were part of an eclectic plane-full of Austin residents and visitors. We chatted in line with an older man in Buddy Holly glasses and sneakers who was traveling to Austin to see his son's death metal band, then sat behind a couple of young engineers entertaining themselves with binary operations riddles, and spent the rest of the plane ride trying to ignore a hugely annoying drunk football fan who was harassing passengers and the flight attendants. A pretty good snapshot of Austin, actually, in all its tech boomtown, music-crazy, rah-rah 6th Street glory.

We started off in Austin meeting the wedding gang for dinner on Friday night where we got a chance to see loads of Tristan's and Jessica's family and friends. The restaurant was at a winery out in Driftwood, just outside of town in the famous Texas hill country. We were especially excited to learn that the place belonged to Damian Mandola, one of the hosts of the much-missed PBS cooking show, Cucina Amore, where these two overweight East Texas good ol' boys do fine Tuscan cuisine because they happen to be Sicilian. Fine entertainment, and as it turns out, they now have created a really pretty place to eat food in central Texas.

On Saturday we hopped into our rental car and zoomed over to meet up with newlyweds Aaron and Jennifer at their adorable place in north-central Austin (a house where Sergio used to be a tenant actually!).

Austin is a true-blue island in a sea of deep red.

They gave us a tour of their peaceful garden, showered Ivan with affection (and a super cute food co-op onesie) and fed us some tasty migas.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. De la Lueckegarzameyer!

We had a super time soaking up the morning sunshine on their beautiful deck and catching up with these two before they had to get busy with UT Game Day and we had to go catch a train...the Zilker Park Zephyr, that is.

Often described as the soul of Austin, we definitely agree that Barton Springs is one of our very favorite things about Austin. While we weren't prepared to take a dip in the 68-degree spring-fed pool on Saturday, we did have time to walk around the surrounding park and introduce Ivan to this lovely spot.


The 3 Texas philosphers, Ivan, and some moron.

Sergio's favorite place with his favorite kid.

And then we took him on a train ride. A kiddie train winds through Zilker Park and on this gorgous afternoon it was sold-out. Ivan seemed alternately unimpressed (i.e. sleeepy and/or more interested in chewing on his fingers) and completely fired-up for locomotive travel (i.e. screeching with delight and bouncing in his seat as we sped along). The kid's a mystery. The parents had an unqualified ball.

Baby's First Train Ride Flip-Book:

And then (after the Longhorns' victory over the OSU to remain #1 in the nation) it was off to the main event of the weekend, the Moore-Ader wedding!

These mini-Mozarts handled the wedding march.

A beautiful bride at sunset...

The couple looked the picture of happiness, and we were so pleased to be able to share in their celebrating. There was a great band, too many cool people to count, barbeque and a gorgeous hill country setting.

The traditional father-son dance (part 1)

Ivan was a hit...

...and a raging party-animal!

Ivan's first pair of sneakers, the shortest tie ever and mama-to-be Lara.

Natalie, Scrunch, and Brabby

Derek and his gals.

Lunch bunch rides again

Traditional father-son dance (part 2)

As an added bonus, we got our first family portrait, compliments of a very patient Anne. It's always a challenge to get the little guy to look at the camera but Anne's charms seems to have done the trick.

Perhaps the only bad thing about going to Austin is remembering how much we miss the place. And all the folks that live there.

All the best to the happy couple as they start their new life together.

Thanks for the pickles!

P.S. On our way out of town we stopped for breakfast and found ourselves eating next to Dan Rather, famous Texan newshound and everyone's fave Election Night MC. Just so you know, he's covering this year's election too. For the French!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sacrament City

Flores + Segovia=True Love 4Ever!

The last part of our trip to Texas took place in Corpus Christi, famous for being the home of Latin popstar/martyr Selena and the headquarters for our fast food favorite, the Whataburger. It also happens to be home base for Sergio's mom's side of the family and the location for the Humberto-Veronica wedding, the main event and purpose of our travel north of the border . We took a ton of photos until the battery ran out (doh!) about halfway through the reception. Here's a rundown of our time in Corpus.

We bid Houston adieu on Friday, and after a three hour drive through what we guess might be called coastal prairie (basically a tropical Iowa?) we crossed some impressive bridges and spotted oil platforms on the horizon. We had made it to the capital of South Texas, Corpus Christi! We were running a little late so we zoomed over to our hotel, buttoned Ivan into his suit and raced over to St. Thomas More.

Just in time, we watched Chipper and Veronica's rehearsal. They looked super and we followed up their show with Ivan's baptism.

Dapper Chipper (and his lovely lady)!

Just before Ivan went berzerk...

The logistics of all of this was complicated, as you might imagine, and we owe the night's smooth success to Ivan's padrinos and Sergio's cousins, Raymond and Linda. They are amazing and will be fantastic guides for Ivan's spiritual and religious life. Father Tomasz, a son of Poland, was also unbelievably kind and accommodating. Not to mention the bride and groom who were so generous about sharing their weekend with us. All in all, we felt pretty lucky to be surrounded by so many cool folks when our son "lost his tail" as they say.

La Madrina

Il Padrino

After the wedding rehearsal/baptism double-header, Raymond and Linda had an open house where everyone had a fine time catching up with their far-flung relations and getting to know the newest members of the family on Veronica's side.

Baptism cake!

Cousins from Texas...

...and New York...

...and Mexico!

Narda's godmother, Tia Mary

Father and Son and Chips and Dip

The next day we had a little bit of free time before the wedding, and so we braved some rainy weather and made our pilgrimage to the Whataburger on the Bay.

I'll have mine with extra pickles...

We managed to talk Sergio's sister's family into joining us for the hamburger party and afterward we all headed over to the seaside to pay tribute to the Selena memorial and take a very brief cruise on the docks.

So young, so beautiful, so rust-covered...

Thank Selena for all she's done for you.

On the docks, shrimp boats roll in to sell their catch fresh 'n' direct. Seeing us snapping photos, this salty dog called us over to show off what he found in his nets that day: a hammerhead shark!

We had no idea a human being could be this red.

No comment here: this is fathers' business.

Oh, and yeah, while we were doing all of this we were also closely following the Texas-Oklahoma game via radio.

As you will note above, Ivan had his Longhorn gear on all morning, and we watched the end of the game and the Texas victory back at our hotel. Who's Number One?

Texas FIGHT!

The wedding was back at St. Thomas More and it was beautiful. Leila and Carol provided beautiful musical accompaniment and the bride and groom looked like they had just stepped off the top of a wedding cake. Adorable.

Hooray for Marriage!

After the wedding, we met up at Chipper's family's place for an outdoor evening reception featuring great food, a beautiful garden and super music including mariachis, a Latin jazz band and dance music courtesy of DJ Chipper himself.

The people-watching was pretty good all night: a real mash-up of Chipper's Texas family, Veronica's family from Chicago and all of their friends who came from all around the world. We suspect that hailing from the film/art world in Los Angeles contributed to some of the entertaining sartorial choices on display. But as usual, Tio Chippy probably took the prize for best dressed as his slim-cut tuxedo with black cowboy hat was pretty much a knock-out. Take that art school dudes!

Also looks good in a hat.

It's rare that Sergio gets to see both his brother and sister, so we took advantage of the photo op.
Narda's still the short one.

It was a glorious evening and we were sad to go. But we needed time to pack up our bags and head back to Mexico City on Monday. Ivan started recharging his batteries right away...

The dog's name is Shakira. Seriously.

All the best to all of our loved ones in Texas. It was great to see y'all and to bring Ivan to one of his homelands.