Everything's Bigger in Texas

  As you may know from my 12 Summer Must Haves for 2012 post, this weekend I spent celebrating the history of my boyfriend's hometown in good ol' San Antonio, Texas.  While I've been flying to Texas several times a year to visit since we started dating, nothing I'd seen before could have prepared me for the outrageous revelry that is Fiesta - and to think I was only there for 4 days of it!

Before things got going in San Antonio, however, we did stop at the cutest lunch place on our way back from Austin - a little house-cum-restaurant called Food Heads that serves a mean pulled pork sandwich.

Beating traffic back to SA in record time, Michael and I barely had 20 minutes to change before heading downtown to NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio), the nightly celebration where throngs of people show up to eat, drink, and be merry.  Michael and his brother and I had the good fortune of working behind a booth selling water and soda, thereby avoiding the packed crowds trying to make their way through a maze of food stands, craft corners, and live performances.  The booth shielded us from the stifling heat (it was 90 degrees out at 6 pm!), and our wristbands that signified we were volunteers earned us a lot more free food than I probably should have eaten.

Yep, that right there is a turkey leg.  I ate most of it, in addition to a shrimp po' boy, fried chicken on a stick, and about 15 beignets (french doughnuts covered in powdered sugar!)  I guess things really are bigger in Texas. Or at least, I am.

I barely had time to recover from my food coma the next day when Michael and I met up with his siblings to attend the Battle of the Flowers Parade - a festival that initially began to commemorate the heroes who fought in the Battle of the Alamo, but which today is a public display of extravagance.  During Fiesta, I learned, one can sign up (nay - one can write a check) to be crowned a "princess" for the duration of the two-week celebration.  The princesses are adorned in the most spectacular dresses, complete with 50-ft long hand-made veils in every color imaginable.  While my initial reaction was to balk at this grandiose display of Fiesta Royalty, a small part of me (I suspect the same part who insisted on playing Cinderella day in and day out as a 3 year old) watched the princesses float by in their bedazzled dresses with envy.


Toward the end of the parade the sun was a bit too hot, so Michael's family and I returned to his house for margaritas (they don't make 'em like this is Boston, folks) by the pool.  Oh, and did I mention his completely adorable nephew Max was there?

If you were wondering what the cutest kid in America looks like, that's him.  I played with Max for the next several hours, watching as he army-crawled around Michael's house in hot pursuit of his favorite activity - opening and closing doors.  Eventually the game got old and Max got cranky and we had to say goodbye, as Michael and I were off to a black-tie affair known as the Order of the German Beer Garden Party or something I can't remember - basically a party for the sake of partying.  Dinner, drinks, and two late-night tacos from Taco Cabana later, I was fast asleep (and most likely dreaming of being a princess).

The next morning was Saturday, and Michael and I woke up on the earlier side to have brunch with his dear and lovely grandfather at their country club.

Rather than spend the day attending Fiesta activities, we decided to take the low-key route and throw a pool party instead.  This turned out to be the greatest idea yet, if not for the wonderful food Michael grilled and the good friends that attended, then for the three munchkins our friend Matt brought over to hang out with us:

Yep, that happened.

I have no words for how cute these little nuggets really are.  As much as I tried to reason with myself, I couldn't help but think how much I wanted to just hand Matt some cash and walk back to Boston with one of them in my purse.  But alas, the pool party came to an end around 7 and everyone went home, leaving me exhausted and dogless.  We had no plans for the evening, which meant Michael and his brother Christopher and I watched ESPN for three hours and then went to bed.  We awoke on Sunday with just enough time to pack and grab lunch with Michael's parents, before back to the East Coast we flew!