Welcome to Houston, Y’all!

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog

Moving to Houston from a different state or country can be daunting for many reasons. You wonder how your kids will adjust to their new school, how you or your partner will settle into a new job, and which grocery store is closest. What you may not expect to question are the words to the Texas Pledge, how to get on the Loop going North West or South East, and why kolaches are not sweet. At all. 

Our very own Moms Blog contributor Piper sparked a HUGE discussion on our internal contributor board about the traditions and idiosyncrasies of our great state and there was a cry for answers! Well, that might be a bit strong, but inquiring minds want to know. What makes Texas and Houston different? What are the key things people new to the state need to know?

I decided I was up to the challenge of filling in all you transplants {welcome, y’all!} with everything you never knew you needed to know about Houston Texas, baby. More on Beyoncé later. 

School

  • “I pledge allegiance to the flag…” Nope, I am not talking about the U.S. Pledge though they will say that too, but your kids will be learning the Texas Pledge. Don’t worry, it is short and sweet. Growing up in Texas almost anyone can recite it from years and years of saying it on the daily. 
  • In addition to school supplies and school clothing get ready to be “encouraged” to buy T-Shirts for all the things. Each event at my son’s school has an accompanying t-shirt that can be purchased. I also remember making shirts in high school for our drill team squads and for the seniors. This seemed totally normal. #Seniors96 
  • If you have girls, get ready to need their monogram or name on every.item.they.own. I force my boys to have our last name on water-bottles and they try to balk but I do not care.
  • Your kids will learn to line dance in P.E. Even I can’t explain that one.
  • Fall is in full swing in high school and that can only mean one thing:: Homecoming. I’m sorry, you are unclear how that involves you? Homecoming is a big deal. There is a football game at which attendance is mandatory. Back at my high school you dressed up for the game in what you would wear to the dance. Granted, times might have changed on that. I am glad to know that the creation of giant mums have not! Guys, this was a highlight of my high school and the ONE thing I was looking forward to about having boys. I was told they don’t wear mums at some of the schools in town, but I can confirm they DO wear them in the suburbs. SO JEALOUS. 

Anyway, the boy mom buys/makes the mum for his date to the dance. I give you exhibit A below. Yes, that is me in all my small town high school glory and my boyfriend Levi’s mom made that mum. She too only had boys and clearly, it was a highlight for her which I appreciate even more now. I had this mum for years guys, YEARS.

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog

Around Town

  • Getting around Houston takes some getting used to. We love to call streets at least two different names. A street near me changes from Willowick to Weslayan to Stella Link as you head South. Loop 610 circles the center of town. It is entirely possible to be traveling North on the West Loop and East on the South Loop all in one day. Guys, it is confusing, even after living here a long time. Check out this Chronicle article which will fill you in. 
  • Speaking of the freeways, you will notice that there are feeder roads next to all of them. “That is definitely a Texas thing, and more common in Houston than anywhere else,” said Ron Jackson of TexasFreeway.com, and we call them “feeder roads”, “frontage roads” or “access roads”. And they will ALL be fully jammed up during traffic times. 

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog

  • As you drive around Houston, you might notice there are businesses built right next to homes and there is very little discretion shown to which businesses go where. This is a family site, so I will not link to any examples…but anyone who heads to the Galleria will have to shield the eyes of their kids from the business that sits right next to Dillard’s. You are so welcome for the zero zoning law. Today, Houston is the largest city in the country with no zoning laws, per the Chronicle.

Special Events

  • Every year in late February/early March the city goes full country. I too didn’t understand this when I moved here as an adult {gasp! YES, I was born in Houston but not raised in Houston} and was slightly resentful of Houstonians playing into the stereotype that {I feel} Houston could use a break from. Cut to me buying my children boots and gingham shirts for Go Texan Day and taking off work to watch the trail riders come in.

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog

The Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo aka Rodeo Houston takes over the city. Events are held all over NRG Park and the previously mentioned Trail Riders shut down major streets as they ride horses and covered wagons in for the rodeo. It really is a sight to see. 

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog 

  • Around the time the rodeo is ending {late March/early April} you will then begin to see photos of your new Texas friends’ children sitting in bluebonnets. They will take over your Facebook feed. The why I can’t really explain except to say the bluebonnets are our state flower and pretty, but the how I can. Just head West on I-10 {the Katy Freeway} and in about an hour you will start to see the hillsides covered in bluebonnets. Throughout Central Texas they cover the sides of the highway and fields. People pull over to a screeching halt and plop their angels down in the middle of nowhere for a photo. If it sounds like I am judging I am…but only of myself. I have done this more times than I would like to admit and my children are NEVER cooperative. Example A of my four month old below. This was taken off I-45 {the North freeway} at a rest stop. Peer pressure is a thing, guys.

Welcome to Houston, Ya'll! | Houston Moms Blog

Food

  • As you drive into town from any direction you will notice the vastness of Houston’s food scene. I don’t even have that kind of time here to go fully into all the types available {because EVERY type is available} so I am just going to focus on the most “Houston”:: Tex-Mex. While Tex-Mex did not start in Houston {thank you San Antonio}, we love it just as fiercely. Not to be confused with traditional Mexican cuisine {which we also have and you should totally try} Tex-Mex is more cheesy, more meat saucey and they have fajitas. Any Houstonian can tell you their favorite. Mine is Lupe Tortilla and my husband’s is The Original AKA Ninfa’s on Navigation. He is clearly wrong. We also like the small, locally owned restaurant in the shopping center near our house. You have to try them all and find your favorite. Then, when your out-of-town friends come to town you can share your new discovery with them! Note: I judge the restaurants on the tortillas, queso and chips. You know, the important things. 
  • Whatabuger is pronounced “Waterburger” and was started south of Houston in Corpus Christi. Texans grow up eating Whataburger and we are incredibly loyal to it and disappointed when we leave the state and can’t find it anywhere else. #7 with cheese, only mustard and lettuce with a Diet Coke if you are headed to my house.
  • Kolaches {pronounced kol-la-chee} were also not started in Houston, but like other things we have taken them over and they can be found at any early morning meeting, sporting event and party. While kolaches are of Czech descent {like me!} the addition of sausage, cheese and egg is purely Texan. A typical Czech kolache would be sweet not savory like the ones you can find at Houston’s Shipley’s Donuts and The Kolache Factory
  • Speaking of donuts, yes, we have a ton of donut shops and very few bagel ones. Shipley’s reigns supreme. Welcome to Texas!

Items of Note

  • Beyoncé is from Houston. Don’t ever forget. I don’t want to talk about how she didn’t appear on stage with Lady Gaga at this year’s Super Bowl in Houston during their song Telephone. It’s still too soon.
  • Bayou=River and we have 10 running through the city, sometimes causing a lot of problems
  • Coke=soda/pop as in “What would you like to drink?” “A Coke” “What kind?”
  • We love Buc-ees and their gloriously clean restrooms. 

I hope this has been helpful for all you newbies! What did I miss that you are questioning about our great state and city? Comment below!

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