Our First Family Trip – Texas

Never would I imagine that Willa would turn 3 before taking her first flights, but due to the pandemic that’s the reality! We always said once Willa was vaccinated for COVID, that we would take a trip down to Texas and finally we made that happen. We had such a blast and wanted to share some of our favorite photos and videos from the trip!

Traveling to Texas

We set out on Wednesday at the crack of dawn for RIC, Richmond’s small-but-still-convenient airport. We arrived a bit later than I would have liked, but thankfully with TSA Pre-check we were through security in no time and made it to our flight comfortably.

Speaking of comfortable, Willa’s travel seat (Graco Contender Slim) proved to be very comfortable throughout our trip. We chose to forward face her for the flights although we still have her rear facing in vehicles. We used a compact, fold-able car seat cart to transport the car seat throughout the airport. It was pretty convenient, we could pile things on it (such as her nebulizer and Anthony’s CPAP). I would say this particular cart wasn’t exactly the best one out there, but it got the job done and Willa even enjoyed

Willa stayed well entertained through our two flights down to San Antonio, and even in the car on the way to my sister, Loretta’s house. She enjoyed all of the sounds and sights of the airports and planes, though she did not like when the plane was flying too smooth.

We grabbed our rental car, a Kia Soul, then of course on the way to Loretta’s house we just had to stop at Torchy’s and Whataburger 😋

The First Leg – San Antonio, TX

After we settled in at Loretta’s house and freshened up, Willa took a tour of the house, met all of the animals, then made herself comfy on the backyard swing that Loretta built. Later that evening, Loretta, Chris, Willa, and I went to the Harvest Night Market at The Historic Pearl while Anthony rested up back at the house.

It was a really nice event with a lot of outdoor booths, though it was just a bit packed for us to enjoy the food so we headed home and got pizza on the way.

The next morning, Loretta did Willa’s hair! Then we ate at Boss Bagel and Julian’s Italian Pizzeria & Kitchen. After that, we headed over to Yanaguana Garden which is a massive kids park with all sorts of unique equipment for the kids to play on.

After that we headed over to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, AKA the drive-thru zoo! We spent a few hours there feeding all of the animals – including zebras and giant-ass birds that have no business putting their heads in our vehicle!!!

Feeding Zebras
Feeding More Zebras

After that experience, we were all very hungry and headed out to dinner (Lupe Tortilla which had indoor/outdoor seating that was nice), then home for the evening.

Later that evening we rallied just a bit – to tie-dye some shirts!

The Second Leg – Victoria, TX

On Friday morning, I threw on my Taylor Swift shirt, picked up a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte with soy milk and no whip, then we hit the road for our ~2.5 hour drive to Victoria, TX.

Taylor Swift’s new album Midnights had just dropped the night before, couldn’t be more perfect timing!!

PS – By this point I had lost my voice, but that worked out as I didn’t know any of the words to the songs yet anyways. It started with a tickle in my throat while on the plane down, not COVID (tested multiple times) but definitely not just allergies, sadly.

When we arrived in Victoria, we gave out hugs to all of Anthony’s family, unloaded the car, freshened up, and then headed to Downtown Victoria to witness Cesar (my FIL) and Marcela’s (new step-MIL) wedding.

It was charming and beautiful. I cried (no surprise there)! Then we all laughed… when Cesar realized he had left the rings in the car and had to run to go grab them. During the ceremony, Willa gravitated towards Anthony’s Uelito (his grandpa, so her great grandpa) and even chose to hold his hand. It was the sweetest thing! Even during the family photos, she wanted to hold his hand.

After the ceremony we ate dinner just down the street at El Paso, where we met up with Ester (my MIL) and Bill (her boyfriend)!

Eventually we will have professional photos and I can’t wait to see how those come out! In the meanwhile, this is all Anthony and I managed to take.

We went back to the house and hung out with everyone for a bit.

Later that evening we spent some time at our good friend Samantha’s house and got to meet her partner finally! We stayed up way too late, but it was well worth it.

The next morning my Ester cooked breakfast for us and hung out for a bit. Then we went to The Texas Zoo with Samantha and her son for a few hours. Some of Anthony’s family met us for a while at the zoo as well.

After that we stopped by a playground (Willa demanded) and worked up quite the appetite so we ate at Anthony’s favorite place – Casa Olé in the mall.

Our friends Gwen and Jeremy met us at the mall so we proceeded to walk around for a bit – we even stopped by Best Buy where Anthony and I (and Gwen & Samantha!) previously worked.

We headed back to the house for a MUCH needed nap for all 3 of us – Willa had some cuddles with her Lito and Uelito first though.

After we all napped, we ate a quick dinner at Guadalajara Mexican Grill then stopped over at Gwen’s parent’s house for a bit. Her parents are like a second set of parents to Anthony, so we couldn’t wait for them to meet Willa!

When we arrived back at Cesar’s place, before I could even open the door we heard music blaring – it was karaoke night! Ester and Bill, Cesar and Marcela, and my half SIL Ruth and her husband Junior were having a grand time. We joined them for a bit (just watching, no singing from us) and even requested a few songs – here’s everyone singing Yellow Submarine, one of Willa’s favorites.

Eventually we headed to bed well past our bedtimes, despite Willa’s pleas for “more music!!”.

The next morning we managed to peel ourselves out of bed in time to make early to brunch (otherwise we’d never get a table apparently) at The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar with our friends.

After a great brunch there, we headed just down the street to the pumpkin patch at the First United Methodist Church in Downtown Victoria.

There were so many things to do at the pumpkin patch! Ester and Bill met up with us there and we had a great time together playing all of the games – especially the corn table!

Cornhole Slow Motion
Unloading Corn with Jeremy

After the pumpkin patch, we stopped by Crazy about Mangonadas for fruit cups, then went home for naps.

For dinner, Ester cooked her spaghetti (mom if you’re reading this, please skip this paragraph) and it was so delicious! Willa ate a good amount of spaghetti which is pretty big for her as she used to be spaghetti noodle adverse.

That evening we met up with Samantha and her son at Marble Slab where we scarfed down some delicious ice cream, then headed back to her house to hang for a bit.

Anthony showed off his Steam Deck to her son while Willa, Samantha, and I read books and played games.

The Third Leg – San Antonio, TX

Monday morning we ate breakfast with Cesar and Marcela, then hit the road again – back to San Antonio/Loretta’s house.

Once in San Antonio, Willa and Anthony chilled at home while Loretta and I picked up food.

Unfortunately, Willa developed a fever so we had to adjust our plans so we hung out home for the rest of the evening . We watched The Great British Baking Show as a family and checked out the results our our tie-dying efforts earlier in the week (forgot to take pics, but we’ll be wearing these shirts soon!).

Traveling Home

We said our last goodbyes to Loretta and Chris on Tuesday morning and headed for SAT, just 20 minutes away.

Flying back to Richmond was rather uneventful!

Willa was again very comfortable in her car seat, and even briefly rode in it while on the cart going through the airport, haha!

When the safety video played on our flight from San Antonio to DC, Willa followed the directions very strictly – she pulled out the safety card and began to “read” it as they instructed.

Our last flight was very small plane to go from just DC to Richmond, it required us to walk out of the terminal and to go up the stairs to the plan itself. Willa didn’t even hesitate, in fact she started climbing the stairs before we were even ready!

We can’t wait to take another family trip soon – but not too soon! I have a work trip to Denver coming up next week then we visitors coming to see us and a more local trip for New Year’s, so the rest of this year is already pretty packed suddenly.

I’ll leave you with some photos of Willa getting to know all the pets at the various houses we visited during our trip – sorry to Buffy, we didn’t get a pic with her!

2 responses to “Our First Family Trip – Texas”

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