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We did it! We took our first family trip. Was it stressful? Yes. Will we do it again? Most likely. We traveled to Phoenix to celebrate Father's Day weekend with my parents and grandparents. 

A few things I will remember from our trip are Gigi perfecting her crawl and meeting her great-grandparents for the very first time; Sebastian crawling in and out of Jack's doggy door; an argument about the importance of learning Spanish, pool time, a pretty good pizza, World Cup matches and, finally, my grandmother's carne asada tacos. 

The purpose of this trip was to visit my Grandparents who reside in Phoenix and who had yet to meet Gigi. My mother mentioned going to Phoenix for Father's Day weekend, which would make things a little more manageable to travel as a family. Nicholas was more than happy to make it all happen. He booked our flights, hotel and car rental. I am so thankful for him and his generosity. He gave up his weekend to spend time with my family on a day that was meant to celebrate his fatherhood. At times it is hard for me to articulate how much that means to me. I really am lucky to have him as my partner. 

Our favorite part of this trip was our visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. It is incredibly scenic and peaceful. It has five trails to chose from, plus it's family friendly. We lucked out with the weather: there was a mild breeze throughout the day and a lot of cloud coverage. Most of the video below documents our visit at the garden.

Things I've learned on this trip: I need more patience! I need to be more forgiving, and I need to be a little more flexible. I grew up in a bilingual household -- my mother is from El Salvador and my father is from Brownsville, Texas. My mother's first language is Spanish and my father's first language is, surprisingly, English. My father never learned to speak Spanish fluently until he married my mother. After becoming a mother, I realized the value of speaking multiple languages. It honors tradition, my culture and helps me communicate with other family members. Teaching my husband and children Spanish has become a personal goal, and I will try my best to teach and encourage them as much as I can. I know this is important to Nicholas, also. He grew up speaking English predominately. While many members of his family speak both English and Spanish fluently, he never achieved comfortable fluency. And that's a key word: comfortable. I know a lot of people in our community struggle with Spanish fluency. They know some words, phrases and may even know how to write and conjugate, but speaking with comfort and confidence remains difficult and, of course, takes practice. I know that speaking Spanish does not make me or Nicholas any more or less a part of the Latinx community. How we experience and embrace the world, family, culture and history...that's what makes us and our family Latinx. But (and especially now!) we should all be learning more languages. It helps us culturally. It helps us connect with family, friends and our community. Nicholas really enjoyed spending time with my family, and I know it's important to him to not only spend time, but also to connect with them. And it's critical that we raise Gigi and Sebastian to do the same. So we'll be turning on the telenovelas and watching World Cup on Univision. We'll be doing more to encourage both languages are spoken comfortably in our household.  

Below are a few photos I snapped on this trip, There aren't very many because, I mostly concentrated on enjoying my time there.

Con mucho amor!  


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My name is Jessica Almanza, I am a lifestyle photographer. I love documenting motherhood, travel, good food, and life's simple joys.