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.