Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Merry Christmas, BABY!

Well the news is breaking and the word is out, Baby DeVore is on its way and should arrive early in June! All of you know how long this has been on our heart, how long we have prayed and asked for this addition to our family. God is so good and already this little baby is a beautiful representation of His endless love and blessings. We trusted in God and are simply enjoying watching the miracle unfold on a daily basis. The timing is not what I expected, but completely perfect. Not being surrounded by our family and friends in NW Arkansas during the pregnancy and birth at first seemed so odd and sad, but living in a major medical hub where my risks are dealt with everyday is so wonderful and reassuring. This baby being born a Texan? That we're having a little trouble accepting, but if God made it so then longhorn it is. Lowery is already loving this baby and sharing this with her is something that has given Steve and I more joy than we could imagine, drawing our family closer together everyday.

So there is our early Christmas gift, and a wonderful one it is. Surprise #2? We already KNOW if it's a BOY or GIRL! Stay tuned. . .

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SNOW in Dallas???

And here we thought snow would not happen for us this year since we weren't in NW Arkansas! To our shock, surprise and thrill, we awoke to huge, gorgeous snowflakes this morning. The good, wet kind that look beautiful (but don't cause road problems). Lowery was very excited - actually, we all were! What is it about snow that's so magical? We were all running around the house at 7am crazy, like we had never seen it before. But it was beautiful and a special treat. We decorated our Christmas tree last night. We were to go to Springdale to get Christmas decorations from the house last weekend, but after our very tough Thanksgiving week we just didn't have the energy. So we decided to let Lowery pick out a live tree and decorations herself. BAD move. We of course ended up with rainbow lights, hot pink and blue ornaments. And no star or angel for the top, she is making a special craft herself for that. It was tough for us to let her pick out everything, but we had promised. So, we decked the halls last night while listening to Christmas music on XM. And get this - while we were listening, a man called in from Dallas, Texas and said he wanted to wish his parents in Springdale, Arkansas a Merry Christmas. What are the odds? It was a fun night, topped with the special snow this morning. We are definitely in the Christmas spirit - and surprise, more snow is expected for Friday!! Who said we don't have winter here in the Big D? So far, so good!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trip to San Antone

We decided to make a trip down to San Antonio for the weekend (which helped us avoid Halloween craziness and still give Lowery something fun to do). We had a blast and love that city. Old, historic and lots of charm, San Antonio is one of my favorite places to visit. Ever since Lowery got a Disney CD with the Davy Crockett song on it, she has been fascinated with Davy and his history (why who knows). We told her about the Alamo and she has wanted to go. Add in a little Sea World and Riverwalk and you've got the makings of a great weekend. And after swine flu survival we all needed a pick-me-up so it was a great time to go.

We went to Sea World on Friday and Saturday. Friday was excellent because we literally had the place to ourselves - I honestly think we were one of 15 people there, kind of bizarre. We were able to do everything on Friday, we just went back for half a day on Saturday to repeat our favorite things. It was a ton of fun and the weather was beautiful so it was great just to be outside. The dolphins were our favorite, along with the Viva show (which has divers, acrobats, synchronized swimmers, dolphins, whales - the works). Lowery got to ask a ton of questions to all of the workers since it was so deserted - they even took us back to see a new baby sea lion. They had a fun trick or treat event for the kids at night so that worked out perfectly. We also had a great time at the beautiful Clydesdale horse exhibit. Our family picture in front of Bud the horse was excellent and was prime Christmas Card material, except for the whole beer thing so we culled the idea.

We did the Riverwalk boat tour and had a great dinner Halloween night. Sunday we had an outstanding breakfast at an old Mansion in the King William District (the house belonged to Guenther, the man who opened a mill which became Pioneer flour). Lowery made lots of friends with the locals. Then we moved on to the Alamo. We stayed for an hour and a half and Lowery intently listened to the entire guide. Every exhibit, every bit of it. Needless to say I think she is going to be a history nerd, she was fascinated. The highlight of the Alamo experience for her? Her tie-dyed, Peace Love and The Alamo t-shirt she chose at the end of the tour.

All in all it was one of our most favorite little trips together and we had lots of fun!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cheerleader Debut

Lowery had an awesome first game today cheering for the Jets (who won, by the way).  She really had a good time and all of the girls did great.  She was not shy (shocker) and gave those cheers 100%.  After watching the coaches and parents of the 9 year olds we were cheering on, we were very glad to have a girl cheering instead of a boy playing.  Intense!  Way to cheer the Jets on to victory, girls!  

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Texas Wildlife in the Backyard

Okay, for those of you who haven't visited us in Dallas yet, please note before you read this that we do not live in the slums.  It will be hard to convince yourself of that after reading this post, but please believe.

So Steve and I have been homeowners for 7 years now.  And in the past 3 weeks we've had to deal with things we've NEVER had to deal with before.  And it's not even our own home. Everyone's telling us that it's just Texas and the summer.  I don't care what it is, I'm ready to move back to Springdale TODAY.  Our first visitor, if you remember the post a couple of months ago, was a snake in the pool.  It was gross, creepy - but I got over it, that happens in pools.  Next was the ant invasion.  Started a couple of weeks ago.  They were everywhere. Inside the house.  We've had the pest control people out multiple times - today was the 5th.  We're bff with the service man now.  One night I was laying there in bed and felt my hand hurting.  Turns out the fire ants were in our BED, on MY side - lots of them.  I haven't gotten over that yet.

Then, construction began on a new home right behind us.  Always count on that to stir things up.  We've got a great colony of ear wigs outside among the rocks, but that I can handle as long as they're outside.  Then on Saturday Lowery and Steve were swimming in the pool - I heard him yelling for Lowery to get out "NOW" - I assumed it was another snake.  Wrong.  Way wrong.  Just take a little look at the pic.  I can't handle it.  I'm done.  Packing up and moving back today.  See you all soon.  

And just in case you want to tell yourself it's a cute raccoon, it's not.   Positively, 100% RAT.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Please Pray...

For our friends the Kennedys.  They are en route now to Malawi, Africa on an exciting mission from God.  Please look to the right at my blog links and go to the Kenendys for more information on their amazing journey.  Erin, Zach and their four children - twins Catherine and Easton, Sophie and Addis - need your prayers on this journey.  They will be fulfilling God's instructions to care for orphans in Malawi.  Their life will be much different than here in the states and they will have many obstacles.  But their reward will be life-changing.  Those you who know us know we love this family and they are so special to us.  Please keep them on your prayer list for the next two months, until we bring them safely home.  Catherine and Easton, Lowery misses you (see pic of Lowery with Catherine - front - and their friend Estella Dru).  Thanks, friends!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

1st Day of K

And here we are to join the masses for the first day of school picture craze - Lowery in all of her uniform splendor.  Uniform plus hot pink nails and a Hannah Montana backpack.  She was very excited and had an awesome first day - she was completely wired when I picked her up.  I thought for sure she would crash when she got home, but somehow she made it through some Wii bowling and some swimming before her meltdown during dinner.  All in all a good day.  Her favorite part of the day?  Designing teddy bear outfits with "curdoy" - took me a while to figure out it was corduroy.  Least favorite part - playing outside in 98 degree weather.  Said her "neck got hot" (get used to it honey, it's Dallas).  Hope everyone had a great day!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last Girls Day Before School

I'm WAY behind on blogging - sorry!  We've been around the world the past two weeks - all over Arkansas and back several times, had company almost every night we've been here in Texas (which we've loved by the way) and are frantically getting ready for school.  Thank goodness my Mom has been here for support the last week or so, it's been absolutely hectic.

But we are getting ready for the 1st big day tomorrow - still wondering how in the world we are starting Kindergarten, much less in Texas at a school where we don't know a soul.  But it's all a part of this journey God has us on and we're enjoying the ride (for the most part).

Now that we're settled a bit, I will do my best to keep up a little better with the blog.  I've already missed so much that I should have shared - Lowery's birthday festivities, our rent house "challenges" (if you haven't heard the ants story, just call and ask - it's better in person), additional trips to Six Flags, new dance place, etc.  But I've got to get back into it somewhere, so I'll share some pics of our last "girls day" before school. 

We thought there was no better way to begin our first day of an ultra-conservative private school than with a brand new layer of flashy hot-pink fingernail polish - so we headed to Sweet & Sassy for Lowery's first mini manicure/pedicure.  My Mom and I joined her and we had a blast - the only downer is that we couldn't finish off the mani/pedi with the glitter dust in the hair.  Thought that would be beyond the legal limits for school.  We then did a little shopping and had a great day together, just the girls.  I was looking at at Lowery's little feet during her pedi today - I used to have such horrible time finding shoes for her because of her little "pork chop" feet.  They were so fat and roly-poly, and we thought one of the reasons she walked so late was because her feet were just to short and stubby to hold her up.  Now, as the purple polish complete with white flowers was being applied, I looked at her long, slender feet.  I still think she's 2 or 3, not 5!  I can't believe how big she is and how she has grown into a little girl.  We're so thankful for her, and I have no idea what I'm going to do for 5 days a week with no baby girl!  Thank goodness there's the "Boohoo/Yahoo breakfast" tomorrow for other Moms like me, I will need reinforcement!  I will post pics tomorrow of our big first day!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Great Week Back "Home" in Texas

When I thought about moving here earlier this spring, I dreamed of a week just like this past one in my head.  I don't know, though - even in that idealistic picture of life here in Dallas did I ever dream the weather would be as great as it has been here the past few days.  

I was somewhat worried on the trip home from Springdale that I would have this ache in my heart when we arrived back in Plano.  We had such a good time back in NWA and remembered what it felt like to be truly home.  But somehow, thank you Lord, it felt like home as well as soon we got here.  It's even been better as the week has gone on.  Monday started off rough because it was stormy and rainy (so we couldn't get in the pool).  But Lowery had received an early birthday present from friends Rachel and Lauryn that was perfect for a rainy day - a teapot set that you design and paint yourself.  Lowery was dying to get into it, so we spent the afternoon hard at work on our art.  Now, for those of you who know me well, I don't do art.  At the crafts camps when I was a girl my results were pitiful.  Ugly.  Not even my Mom puts them on display in her house.  I can picture in my mind what I want, but somewhere during the execution it goes terribly wrong.  Lowery decided on a watermelon/polka dot motif (to match her outfit that day) and I reluctantly agreed.  She actually did all of the painting herself, I just helped her with the polka dots and drew the watermelon shapes.  All in all I am very proud and think it turned out very cute (see pics).  This is a great gift for anyone looking for a good girl present.  She spent hours on it and has played with it nonstop since it dried.  Thanks Rach and Lauryn!

After the storms that day, something very unusual happened in Dallas.  Something I could never imagine would happen in July - it cooled off.  Last night we went to the Coldplay concert at an outdoor amp theater in Dallas. We had predicted profuse sweating and misery, but were pleasantly surprised.  I was also pleasantly surprised that our friend Gabe took the extra ticket we had while in town for a business meeting.  We had a blast - all of you who know Gabe know that things are always more interesting with him around.  We had a lot of laughs, especially during the two horrible bands that opened for Coldplay.  Finally, around 9:07 to Gabe's estimation, Coldplay finally began.  There was lightning in the distance, a cool breeze blowing and as they took the stage to "Life in Technicolor" I knew it was a Dallas memory I will remember for a long time.

Today things just got better.  I don't know about for Steve because he doesn't share my love of amusement parks, but for me it was a wonderful day.  Since we lost the whole month of June for our Six Flags season passes to the broken arm, I had said the first day it was somewhere below 100 degrees we would go.  That was today.  The high was 90, can you believe it?  And it felt amazing outside - no humidity, cloud coverage, perfect.  We spent about 4 hours at the park and had a blast.  Lowery rode her first roller coaster, the ancient white-wooden wonder Judge Roy Scream, and loved it.  There was no one there - we were literally the only ones on the Mine Train, and we even got a free Texas Longhorn basketball from a generous security guard.  There were only a couple of downers: #1 -Lowery definitely did NOT earn her drivers license on the antique cars (pic).  #2 - Our stupid decision to not don our ponchos for the Rapids ride.  Big mistake, as we got completely soaked.  Lowery ended up riding home in nothing but her panties (is that against a law?) because her clothes were soaking wet and cold.  Anyway, we got home and rested for a while and then headed to the Hawaiian Falls waterpark with the Blacks.  The kids were so cold and the water was so cold they were shaking.  Brooke's lips were blue.  In July.  In Dallas.  Crazy.  Stacy and I had a nice colon cleansing from the "Hawaiian Half Pipe" tube ride and Lowery and Steve flipped in another tube ride, but other than that it was a great ending to a great day.   

All in all, a perfect week here in the big city.  Just what I hoped it would be - lots to do, lots of fun to have - and even the unexpected blessing of cool weather at the end of July.  

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

The major event of our visit last week to Springdale?  You guessed it (by the photos), the Gentry Drive Through Safari.   Can you believe it was Lowery's first time?  I know, I don't know how we made it through her 4 years in Northwest Arkansas without going there.  But we made up for lost time last Saturday.  

Our trip home last week was amazing - God even made the weather unbelievably perfect to remind us of where our real home is.  We had a blast with everyone - thanks to everyone who made time to see us.  The laughter was indeed some much needed medicine for my homesickness, and Lowery played so hard everyday with her old running buddies that she nearly fell out.  Our trip was a success - clean teeth, fresh hair cuts and school shots were all checked off the list.  And all of those things made us very out of place at the Gentry zoo on Saturday - ha!  Seriously, we had such a good time with everyone.  It seemed like years since we had seen our friends and we had a great time.

Since the weather was perfect on Saturday, although a little too chilly for swimming, we decided to join The Peters family on a safari (thanks to Scott for maneuvering us through the emus, camels and potholes).  I hadn't been there in so many years I had all but forgotten all of the details.  Steve was thoroughly impressed and Lowery was in awe - it was a great time.  Our ear drums were shot from the girls screaming any time an emu came remotely close to the car (video), but other than that there were no injuries.  We did as we were told and stayed away from the ornery Kangaroo and all were safe.  Playing with the lion cub was my highlight of the day.  The green llama (see picture), who was a little worse for the wear after a bath in the algae pond, was not.  My little rule follower was also in rare form, refusing to throw the stale hot dog buns out to the camels due to the warnings at the entrance gate to not feed the animals.  Sorry, Lowery, you missed out on some good ole' camel saliva on the wind shield.  

All in all a fabulous week and we can't wait to get back again!  

Friday, July 10, 2009

Back from the Beach

We are finally back from our week at Florida with my parents and extended family.  It's our annual trip that we've taken since I was 4 - we've even gone to the very same place all of these years.  Of course we've spent each year the past 10 or so talking about finding a new place, but we always end up back at the familiar.  Good ole' "Latitude 29, The Best Backyard at the Beach" - between Rosemary Beach and Panama City Beach.  What can we say, old habits die hard.

By far the favorite part of the trip for me is watching Lowery with her beloved "cousins."  She thinks the sun rises and sets with these guys - and it's understandable, they are some great kids.  I am very proud of each of them.  Lowery laughs with them and tries to keep up with the "big kids" - I fear she mostly bugs them, but they are sweet and let her hang in with them anyway.  Our favorite highlights - them playing the "movie" game in the pool, Lowery and the girls singing Taylor Swift, Hannah and other Disney favorites (along with a great hoedown throwdown performance in the baby pool by Jansen and Susannah - I have it on video girls, just wait til your Senior Party) and their "Paparazzi" group at Bayou Bill's (they all discovered their inner photographer while waiting for a table).  The Justice shopping trip, the delicious fresh fish, crab hunting, the magic man at Treasure Ship, I could go on and on. . .

 I always go into depression after this trip because I enjoy being around the family for a week.  It was especially hard this year, when coming "home" felt a little different (because where is home for me anyway right now?).

Anyway, a great time was had by all.  Here are some pics.  Glad to be back!  We are looking forward to being in Northwest Arkansas next week (Wednesday through the weekend) and can't wait to see everyone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day and Anniversary!

A big two days around the DeVore house.  Father's Day yesterday and today is our 7th anniversary!!  I am so blessed to have Steve, he is a wonderful husband and father.  I know my Mother began praying for my husband when I was very young, and that is the only reason I can imagine why God blessed me with him.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  And the number one clue that he's amazing?  I'm the happiest when I'm with him.  He provides everything I need.  He also is a great provider for Lowery.  I think she gets her independence and confidence because of Steve's attention and affection towards her.  Steve follows the bible on how to be a husband and father and that is all I could ever wish for.   Plus, most of you know Steve well.  Can you imagine the entertainment and comedy (and harassment) I get on a daily basis?  

Yesterday was a simple day together - church, lunch at cheesecake factory and an afternoon of na
ps and playing in the pool.  All in all a good day.  Our big plans to
night?  Well, I think all of the 4 people w
e know well in Dallas are busy so we will have a family anniversary celebration.  Brenda/Carla, please come visit soon so your kids can have a romantic night out.  Ha!  

Swimming with the cast

It ain't pretty (and neither am I in these lovely pool glamour shots), but we have tried to let Lowery get somewhat in the pool the last week.  We take a plastic bag and tape it around her cast.  She props it up on a towel on the side of the pool.  She can walk around and play on the steps - she has these plastic fairies and mermaids that can keep her busy for an hour or so in their underwater "world" on the steps.  Or sometimes she gets on the raft and floats with me, which she calls the "lazy river."  I know I am pushing it letting her get close to the water  -  and only one slip would be all she wrote and the cast would be soaked.  But it is getting really hot here and I feel sorry for her, not being able to swim.  Plus, it's the last few days in the cast so I figure it can't do so much damage if it gets wet.  Only 3 more days to go in this thing - counting down to cast removal and beach!! 


Friday, June 19, 2009

A Little Homesick

All of you Northwest Arkansas friends, I am missing you!  Not that I didn't miss you before now, but it is tough today (for some reason, I'm not sure).  We have been having such a great time here, but I am ready for a visit home.  I miss the church, I miss friends.  I miss Chick-Fil-A Fridays, my "counseling" sessions during Lowery's dance/gymnastics and Sundays.  I miss my little Lawson, Rachel and Lauryn and my baby Abbi Springer.  I miss cooking in my kitchen at home, and even miss Marketplace.  

I've done pretty well until now.  I think not getting to come home in May like we planned (because of Lowery's arm) hurt things - I just haven't been back there as soon as I thought I would.  We were so busy there, always surrounded by friends and activity.  The down time here has been good and we have had so much wonderful time together as a family, just the three of us. But it can't replace the time with good friends who are like family and I am ready to see everyone!  We will probably be there middle of July and I am counting the days.  I miss and love all of you and I am sad today!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Me, The Pool and a Ssss. . . .

I can barely say it because the whole incident and its bad memories come flooding back. But, yes, I was in the pool yesterday with a snake.  

There was major flooding and damage around here with all of the storms on Wednesday, which is what I am hoping caused the snake to be near the house.  Anyhow, the story goes like this: Lowery was down for a nap and Steve was home for lunch so I decided to try and get some sun.  I pull the raft over to the side, get on and begin my - what is supposed to be relaxing - time in the sun.  I'm floating around and notice some dirt on one of the side tiles.  I started looking around to the other tiles and that's when I spotted it.  Its head sticking straight out from the cover of a drain on the side of the pool, about a FOOT away from me.  I'm frantic - I start paddling backwards towards the step and that's when it slithered in the water WITH me - and all "you know what" broke loose.  I don't know really how I got off that raft and to the steps, but let's just say it wasn't pretty.  And if a movie camera would have been rolling I'd be $10,000 richer courtesy of America's Funniest Home Videos.

With all of my flailing, splashing and screaming, Steve runs out.  I muster a throaty, drawn out scream of "Sssnnnaakke." Steve now looks worse than me. What now?  We know we need to kill it, but how?  With what?  We don't have a lot of tools, no hatchet handy.  You know us, we're not nature people.  Don't build things, have tools around.  We're sports people, we like sports. Not snakes.

Steve tries to trap it with the pool cleaner-net.  He does, then instructs me to go look for something to actually kill him with. What did I come up with?  The biggest kitchen knife we have. Please see picture of said murder weapon.  The snake swims in 
the filter basket - it took all of the courage me and Steve had to take the filter top off.  Then we got another surprise, along with the snake were two brown and slimy frogs. What is this, wildlife aquarium?  We're both hollering now - I trap the snake with the net pole and Steve reaches down and cuts the head off with the kitchen knife.  Not pretty, but over.  Of course you know the worst part - the way the body keeps slithering around after the head is gone.  This totally creeps us out and its a while before we (I mean Steve) can muster enough composure to actually lift the filter basket and take it to the grass out back and dump it.  

I've always prided myself of not being that afraid of snakes - spiders are my terror.  But that has changed, and I am freaked out beyond words.  How will I enjoy the pool again?  Will it ever be the same?  I'm a mess, I'm disturbed.  Granted, it was pretty small - a baby.  BUT WHERE IS THE MOTHER??  Help me!!!!  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cast #2

Well we are officially in Cast #2.  After three 1/2 weeks in the original neon pink, above- the-elbow cast, we moved on to a shorter cast.  Lowery did great getting the original one removed - or shall I say sawed off (first picture).  She has debated for a week on the color of the new cast, and she finally chose El Dorado Wildcat purple.  The bones are healing and she is right on track - thank goodness she did not require surgery.  Although I'm still trying to figure out how a simple cartwheel did so much damage.  She has really been good throughout the entire ordeal.  No whining, complaining, and not one mention of itching.  We are proud of her.  Two more weeks in this purple cast and then we will finally be able to go to a removable brace, which means summer can finally resume for us.

I haven't blogged much lately because, to be honest, life with a 4 year old in a cast can be pretty boring.  No swimming, no parks, no jumping, climbing or sliding.  We have managed to visit the zoo two more times - taken each set of grandparents.  We also visited the Dallas World Aquarium, which was fun.  All in all, despite the broken arm, we are loving life here in Dallas so far.  We miss NW Arkansas and especially our friends and church, but so far we are blessed to have another place that is also beginning to feel like home.  Here are a few pictures from the zoo trips and aquarium.