Yuriah, who was born and raised in New Jersey, and Lori, a native of Rhode Island, had raised their kids in New Jersey until about eight months ago. Yuriah was promoted within his company to Vice President and Central Division Sales Manager at Goldman Sachs.
“We could pretty much live anywhere, so we started looking at Houston and Austin and then moved our search to the Plano/Frisco area. I honestly thought that was where we would end up because our boys are hockey players, and they have great leagues there. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I kept feeling anxious and uneasy,” shared Lori. “On the last day, we were scheduled to look in Southlake. I know this sounds crazy, but I immediately felt like I wanted to live in Southlake, build our home, and raise our kids here. We told our realtor that we only wanted to continue our search in Southlake, and eight months later we couldn’t be happier.”
“Within the first 24 hours of unloading the moving truck, we had a knock at the door from boys asking our oldest to throw the football with them, and then the neighbors across the street invited our two youngest to play with their kids while we unpacked. The next knock was from the couple next door asking us to take a break and join them for a drink. So, all sweaty and dirty, we joined them. We seriously had to pinch ourselves. The next day, two more families brought over cookies. This just doesn’t happen in other places!”
The schools in Southlake were a big draw for the family. “Even coming from great schools in NJ, we learned that Southlake’s schools were challenging, but the education and teachers are truly amazing. Learning about the tutorials that are offered was incredible – where else can you find this? The teachers are great and support the kids with everything and anything they need. We just can’t say enough about how impressed we are with the teachers and schools. Our son had a class that took him fishing every day – we didn’t even know classes like this existed!”
“We moved in October, two full months after school started, with no family, no friends, no nothing. The athletics programs really made a difference in settling everyone in and finding friends. The middle-school athletics were mind-blowing! All of our kids arrived as athletes. Our sons play hockey, and our daughter is a competitive gymnast. Kellan was playing hockey but when we got here, he decided to try Dragon Youth Baseball where Yuriah stepped in and became an assistant coach. He also joined “Under the Lights” playing flag football. Our daughter stepped outside of gymnastics and joined a volleyball team this year. All of the kids started recognizing other kids from school at their athletics and made friends. It was really great!”
Lori has also met friends through her kids’ athletics. She had a friend from home who had a college friend in the area, and they were an incredible help. One helped get their youngest into football, and another helped their daughter get onto a specific volleyball team and introduced Lori to other moms. “It’s truly one of our favorite things about Southlake: how incredibly kind and helpful the people are here. They sweep you into being a part of everything.”
“We were out to dinner after school ended and asked the kids what they thought of it here. They said that they would never go back – this is where they want to be! Our youngest didn’t want school to end. He says he likes being at school for seven hours. It makes such a difference when you know your kids are happy,” says Lori. This past year, Lori has also volunteered at class parties and field trips and looks forward to getting involved more next year.
The Baileys’ favorite thing to do is “anything that involves Town Square”. Whether it’s just walking or eating dinner or ice cream at Milwaukee Joes, being there just makes them happy. “We were blown away by Christmas. Every tree in Town Square was lit, and we took carriage rides under blankets with hot chocolate. It was great! The art show was fun and had so many things for the kids. We all have our favorite restaurants: my husband and I love Perry’s (we just celebrated our anniversary there), Braden loves Moxies, McKenzie always chooses TruFire, and Kellan’s favorite is Delucca’s. We often drop Braden at the Square – it’s great to feel at peace and know it’s safe dropping him there as well as at the Champions Club.”
Lori credits, as do many of us, the Moms of Southlake Facebook page for getting answers to questions about anything you need. “I’ve gotten everything from doctor recommendations to suggestions for home projects. It’s an incredible place to go to for your answers. It’s so great that many want to help and share their time and experiences.”
When asked what they always do with visitors, Lori said: “We love that when everyone visits, they want to go somewhere they can wear a cowboy hat and boots. Of course, we always go to Fort Worth and to the Stockyards and rodeos. There is nothing more patriotic than the beginning of a rodeo where one of the barrel racers rides around the ring with an American flag to the song “Proud to Be an American”. It’s very moving and I get goosebumps and tear up every time. If our guests don’t show up with a cowboy hat, they have one when they leave.”
The Baileys didn’t have any family in Southlake when they got here, but Lori’s mother-in-law just bought a condo here, so she’ll be just a few miles from them, which they are looking forward to. The family lives off of Randol Mill Road. I asked her if she knew about the highly publicized speed limits there. She laughed, “We never exceed the speed limit! I’m pretty sure we are the only ones that go the speed limit. Our realtor seriously mentioned the speed limit three or four times, so we heed her warnings.”
Lori finished our chat by telling me how her family loved learning that everyone from pre-K to high school are Dragons. “We had heard it from so many people, but it never quite hit us how great it really is until we got here.” When she was sharing pictures of end-of-year parties, she found herself saying things like “We are Dragons for life” and using green hearts. It sounds like the Baileys now feel like the rest of us! There’s definitely no place like home, especially when home is Southlake.