Valley Retreat

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Rio Grande City is a South Texas town just minutes from the Mexican boarder, where my sweet grandparents reside, and actually where my parents met in high school. Our family has been making several visits a year my whole life, but this time was special because it had unfortunately been so long since I had been able to make the trip. I was so happy to accompany Mama Reyna and visit my grandparents over the past few days.

You really have to keep yourself entertained with good music, good jams, and good conversation on the way down to the valley (what this region is referred to as), because the drive is a seven hours. That’s right, seven. It took my Ohio friends less time than that to get home from Chicago. Sadly, we don’t get to drive through pretty trees or hills, it’s pretty flat and, well, just dirt. Nonetheless, Mom and I always end up laughing away and turning what could be a very dull situation into some fun.

The highlight of our journey on the way down was my reunion with the amazing Whataburger. If you’re from Texas, you know how frequently these are usually stationed along the highway. It took Mama Reyna and I three tries to actually find a functioning one – the first was being redesigned, and the second just didn’t exist where they said it was. I was so pumped when I finally had a burger and fries in my hands, I snapped a photo and was convinced everyone at the restaurant thought it was my first time.

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The nice thing about going to Rio is that I always feel like I’m getting to go undercover and just escape the busyness of life. Despite the grueling heat (with lows above the Chicago highs), it is nice to spend some time where I don’t have anyone to impress or a place to be or a time to wake up, and I can just be lazy and visit with the people I love. Another bonus, so many naps and Grandma insists on stuffing our tummies with delicious meals.

Those lows were normally higher than the Chicago high...

Toto Gordo, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Chicago anymore.

Visiting with my grandma and grandpa is always a hoot. They are so full of character and stubborn and silly and smart and loving – basically all the traits I see my mom, sister and I embody in different ways. Seeing the roots of it all brings a big smile to my face. I am so grateful for their constant love, support, and strength. Making them proud shines light on my heart. We didn’t snap any photos together this time, so I’ll have to dig up some to share.

After a busy week of travel, I think some time to check up on my grandparents and rest was just what Mom and I needed. By day three though, I’m pretty sure I was on the verge of becoming a snacking, Netflix watching, reading, napping sloth. It’s always hard to leave, but the drive back luckily seems a bit shorter. And the chance to stop at Buc-ee’s is always a good source of motivation to persevere.

Bonus photo if you’ve made it this far – yours truly as Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, an old Halloween costume. One of my top favorite activities at Grandma and Grandpa’s?? Looking at the photo albums over and over.


Thankful for a great trip, my adorable grandparents, quality time with mom, and getting home safe.  After some time at home, and plans to return for a couple days next week, I  am finally making my way back to the best city in the Lone Star State – Austin! Eeeek! I. Can’t. Wait.

Hope its been a great week, friends!



  1. Madeline
    August 15, 2014 / 12:31 pm

    You’re the cutest Esmerelda I’ve ever seen! So glad you had such a good visit, bestie! 🙂

    • August 21, 2014 / 11:51 pm

      Ah thank you so much bestie! Love you!

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