Sunday, August 25, 2013

In the Blink of an Eye

Sunday, August 25, 2013
Happy Fourth Birthday Natalie Grace
It was a bright and sunny morning in Shawnee, Oklahoma on Monday, August 24, 2009. This was the day we had been waiting to arrive for 43 weeks... Yes, FOURTY THREE WEEKS! Ms. Natalie was so comfortable in there that she didn't want to come out. In fact, we made such a joke about this prior to this induction that little did we know that despite all of the drugs and efforts of the doctors and nurses for her to arrive on Monday, August 24th, it wasn't until nearly 26 hours later that she would actually make her arrival.
It was about 6:50am on Tuesday, August 25th and my OBGYN, Dr. Trotter was about to complete his over-night shift when he came in to do a final check. I had been induced on Monday, August 24th around 7am and had been in "labor" for the past 24 hours with very, VERY little progress. Dr. Trotter and the nurses were doing their routine check when all of the sudden I heard Dr. Trotter tell the nurse to go wake up Chris. Sure enough, little Natalie Grace had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and her heart-rate was dropping.
Dr. Trotter came in and told me that he was going to perform an emergency C-Section. Before I could even process this, Chris and all of my family was in the room holding my hands and praying. About 30 minutes had passed since the initial morning process that began at 6:55am. Chris and I both got suited up to go to the operating room and what seemed like seconds passed and I was on the table being cut open. In 4 minutes flat, Dr. Trotter had my little miracle out of me and I heard a very loud cry.
A very classic and memorable picture of Chris and his baby walking out of the Operating Room.

Natalie and Chris have a special bond and this picture proves why! Priceless!
More of the special bond Natalie and Daddy share! I am so very grateful for Chris and what a WONDERFUL daddy he is to our 2 children!
Natalie Grace Davis- August 25, 2009

On Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 7:35am Natalie Grace entered the world and my life was forever changed. She was perfect, weighing in at 9 pounds 3 ounces and 20.5 inches long. It was hard to realize that the beautiful tiny baby was "MINE" and everything I had always dreamed of was finally happening. I remember just holding her (After the initial 3 hours of waiting to get to see her, of course) and crying as I sat there and thanked God for allowing me to be her mommy. Oddly enough, I still hold her hand and tear up each night as her and I sit at the foot of her bed and say our prayers together. I always end my prayer with "Thank You, Lord for choosing me to be her mommy and allowing her to be my daughter."
She was everything I had prayed for and MORE!

I seriously cannot imagine my life without her and I cannot believe she is 4 ALREADY! Where has the time gone? I have heard of the sayings from other parents of "They grow up too fast" or "Before you know it, they are grown" but today I feel like I can actually say one of these sayings myself. It doesn't seem like 4 years ago that I was holding her for the first time and it doesn't seem like she should be 4 but SHE IS! Where has the time gone?
Natalie Grace, you are my pride and joy and I thank God for you EACH AND EVERY DAY! You are a true gift from God and I promise to love and cherish you for the rest of your life. I also promise to do my best to be an example of a Godly woman and mother for you in hopes that one day you too will be able to reflect of the 4 years of your child's life! I love you, Nattie!
God is good... ALL THE TIME!

The Best Summer Yet

Saturday, August 24, 2013
But the BEST is yet to come...

It is hard to imagine that this time last year I was still adjusting to a newborn and having 2 kids. The summer of 2012 was a life-changing 2 months as Chris and I had just had Baby Luke and welcomed him into our family!

The summer of 2012 was uneventful, besides the obvious, and we did not do much. Most of our days were spent inside hugging and loving on our newly born baby boy! On occasion we would go to the water-park or take a drive to get a "Treat" at Dairy Queen but most days and nights were spent indoors with our family. (This does remind me how HOT it has been this year, though) I remember thinking "Wow, we didn't even really HAVE a summer".

This thought was at the front of my mind as we came into the summer of 2013 and I wanted to make up for "lost time". Looking back on my summer, I definitely made up for the summer of 2012 and THEN SOME!

During this summer my family and I did SO much but these were my favorites:
Taking my kids to see their GREAT-Grandparents and extended family in Kansas
Wished Chris a Happy 3rd Father's Day
Had a "Girls Night" with a bunch of friends and "Painting with a Twist"

Got a new Grill

Got new playground equipment for the kids(Thanks to my Uncle OD and his generousness)
Went to the Houston Zoo 3 separate times

Went to 2 Astros Games
Went to Galveston Beach with my parents and Cousin Curtis and his family

Met up with my College Roommate, Jessica, and her family in Galveston and had dinner too

Went to the Conroe Rec Center Waterpark about 10-12 times
"Dedicated" ourselves and Baby Luke to The Lord 2 times (Mims Baptist Church- Conroe and Arp Emmanuel Baptist Church- Arp)

We went to Tyler to visit my parents
We went to Dallas to visit my sister and SIL

Had 4 Thirty-One Parties (Way more than I expected... I am so proud of myself)

Ate at 2 "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" around Houston

Chris and I went on a cruise to The Western Caribbean and visited Baton Rouge and New Orleans


We did all of this and we still got plenty of rest and relaxation. It was great to be able to run around and spend time with and friends. Mr. Luke turned 1 in June and he has been running around like he is 3 this whole summer. I know he wants to be able to get up and play with Natalie. This makes me wonder how he will be NEXT summer.

This reminds me of a story I heard in Sunday School once about the BEST IS YET TO COME! Even when looking back at all of the AMAZING things we were able to do this year, I am reminded that it will only get better as the years go by! In the summer of 2014 we will have a 2 year old and near 5 year old... OH THE POSSIBILITIES! I cannot wait! Just 187 school days... HAHA just kidding (Kinda!)

This is one of the joys of being a TEACHER and I am so grateful for MY SUMMERS!

God is good... ALL THE TIME!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sooner Born and Sooner Bred

August 21, 2013
And when I die, I'll be SOONER Dead
"Let's Go Sooners... C'mon, defense... Touchdown Sooners".
These were common sayings I heard growing up in my house. I remember being a small kid of 7 (maybe 8) years old and watching Sooner Football in the basement with my dad. I didn't even understand the game of football but I would sit watching the games with my dad on weekly basis! Even better would be when I got to watch it with my grandfather who was an OU Alumnus himself. He played on the OU Football team in 1949-1950 and raised his 4 boys and most of his grandchildren to be SOONERS! The saying from "BOOMER SOONER" that states "Sooner Born and Sooner Bred" was actually accurate for me and my life and I could not be more proud.
In 1999 when I was a High School Sophomore playing the saxophone, I discovered my calling in life which is teaching... in particular, teaching band and music. At the age of 15 I knew not only WHAT I wanted to do with my life but HOW I wanted to do it. Having been brought up in a SOONER home I was taught to dislike certain schools and rivalries. However, since I was a 2 year Texas All-State Saxophone player and Statewide "Outstanding Soloist" as a senior I decided it might be good to "Explore my Options".
The Spring Semester of my Junior year and the Fall Semester of my Senior year were spent traveling around the state of Texas and country exploring these "options" and seeing what type of scholarship I could get. I auditioned at (GOD FORBID) The University of SAXET (texas), Texas Tech University, The University of North Texas, Baylor University, Ohio State University (via tape), Stephen F. Austin State University, The University of Southwest Texas (Now "Texas State University" in San Marcos) and even Kansas State University as well as The University of Oklahoma where I would eventually call MY HOME. While the scholarship money of most of these universities matched OU's offer and in the case of Texas Tech was even more, I couldn't seem to break "From Tradition" and go to a NON-OU school... Not to mention, Lubbock is FAR AWAY, Austin is WEIRD, Waco was too "Goody-Goody" (Fake.. but still annoying) for me, Denton's folks seemed a little hippy and off-beat and the others were just not as friendly and kind as the Oklahoma people were.
In addition to the family tradition of OU, I also had an additional reason to make my way to Norman, OK. My entire High School band career I spent being a part of All-Region, All-Area and All-State Bands as well as SFA Band Camps where Mr. Brian Britt was the director. In fact, he was so frequently the clinician at these events that he began to know my name and I was not even one of his own students. I learned a lot from him and quickly discovered I wanted to be like him as a band director. I learned my senior year during All-Region Band Clinic in January that he had accepted the Head Band Director position of The Pride of Oklahoma at The University of OKlahoma in Norman, OK. This pretty much sealed the deal for me... I was headed for SOONER NATION!
Around Spring Break of my senior year is when I was offered my final scholarship from The University of Oklahoma and this is when I sealed the fate for the rest of my life. I truly was SOONER BORN and SOONER BRED and now when I die I will be SOONER DEAD! I remember, I was so happy I could hardly hide my emotions and the rest of my senior year seemed to fly by as I was so anxious to get to Norman and live out my dream.
Part of my dream was being a part of The Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. I had attended a few football games with my parents and other family members and wanted to be a part of this vital role in OU's history and football program. I remember circling the day the music came out on my calendar and for the entire month of July and August I would practice the audition music for hours on end trying to secure a spot in The Pride and continuing my dream.
My parents and I arrived for The Pride Camp the week before Freshman Orientation and I began the audition process. After 3 long, HARD days of playing, practicing and marching in the 100* heat, the list of the 97th Pride of Oklahoma was posted in Catlett Music Center. I spotted the SAXOPHONES column and ran my finger down the list looking for "Kellie Klingsick". It wasn't there. I kind of blew it off and was thinking "Ok... I just looked in the wrong spot". I skimmed the list again even checking the ALTERNATES column. No such luck... Kellie Klingsick was not on the list! I turned around amidst the chaos in the foyer of this massive building to see my parents who were standing there with smiles on their faces and their thumbs up waiting to hear the news. Like me, this was not the news we expected. I was a 2 time All-State Sax Player and "Outstanding Soloist"! How could this happen? 
 I wanted to throw in the towel at this point... Not just for OU but for my dream of being a teacher and band director. I felt "If I cant even make the OU Band, how am I going to teach kids to someday play in this band". I remember telling my parents "I will just do what every other person from my high school does and go to SFA". BUT, I didn't want to just be another AHS graduate attending SFA. I wanted to write my own story and live this dream.
My parents and I walked back to my dorm where I will never forget the prayer my dad prayed at the foot of my bed in Couch Dormitory. He prayed for courage for me to continue with my dream despite the bump in the road and he reminded me of my grandfather and how this was a continuance of HIS dream. And for that reason, I decided to continue at OU despite this "Speed Bump" in my dream.
My parents left that evening and I was all alone on the grounds of this massive university. Freshman Orientation came and went and I was ready for my first class. Music Theory was bright and early at 8am on the first day and there I saw a lot of people who were also Music Ed majors that I had met the previous week during Pride auditions wearing their new PRIDE shirts and talking about the show and there I was not included in these conversations. It was a classic Junior High/ High School moment. It was hard and I could have quit... BUT I DIDN'T! It is this moment and this year in my life that not only carved out who I am as a SOONER, teacher and person but it has made me a better teacher.
My freshman year was full of lots of changes and hurdles like anyone else but these hurdles are the ones that made me who I am today. In the Fall of 2002, I auditioned for The Pride of Oklahoma again and this time was selected to be a part of the 98th Pride of Oklahoma.
I am on the inside part of the "O" on the 27 yard line.

It was during this season that I got to go to The 2002 Rose Bowl where I got to march in the 6+ mile Rose Bowl Parade as well as play and march in the actual Rose Bowl!
This was a life-changing event and I will NEVER forget it.

My friend Autumn and I outside the Rose Bowl in 2002

A 3rd round of auditions came in 2003 and I was once again selected to the now 99th Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band. It was during this year that I got to go to the 2003 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans where OU played lsu for the National Championship (don't say anything Chris)!

The Tenor Saxes and I inside the New Orleans Superdome for the Sugar Bowl!
As I sit in Houston reading and watching the current 2013 Pride of Oklahoma controversy unfold, I am reminded of my time in The Pride and how it effected my life. These two years shaped my time at OU and truly helped carve who I am today, especially as a teacher. Countless times I have mentored kids who just want to give up and throw in the towel and I have to remind them to dig deep and NEVER GIVE UP no matter what the circumstances. I could have easily taken my saxophone and suitcases back to Tyler and gone to TJC like everyone else but that was not MY DREAM.
Thank you, Mr. Brian Britt and The Pride Staff for cutting me in 2001 and giving me this hurdle to climb over. It helped me become who I am today and that is a SOONER!
To all The Pride of Oklahoma members, current and alumni alike, may you, too, relive your years in The Pride and appreciate the time you had in this AMAZING organization!
I know I will NEVER FORGET IT!
God is good... ALL the time!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

You Only Live Once- By Way of Chris

The Carnival Conquest Western Caribbean Cruise 2013
YOLO, Especially if You Eat LIKE THIS... 
We loved the food selections and restaurants so much that we decided to EACH write our own post on what we ate during the duration of the cruise. This will be formatted by day and then a summary of our favorites at the end of the post. If you have never gone on a cruise and YOU LIKE TO EAT... You will more than likely have one booked by the end of this post!

Sunday- Embarkation
Cezzanne Restaurant/ Lido Buffet and Guy's Burger Joint
Tomato and Mozzarella Panini Sandwich
Mushroom Fritters and Mushroom Quiche (These were INCREDIBLE)
Cajun Style Shrimp Remoulade

"Plain Jane" Burger from Guy's Burger Joint

Main Dining Room- Renoir Restaurant

Chips and Guacamole
 (It is not very original, but I do like guacamole)

Cured Salmon and Candied Tomato
("Uber" delicious)

Main Entrees
Sweet and Sour Shrimp
(This was excellent)

Linguini with Italian Sausage, bell peppers and mushrooms
( I had been looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint)

Vanilla Crème Brule
(I enjoyed it but not as much as Kellie did)

Black Forest Gateau
(This was a pleasant surprise)

Late Night Room Service

BLT with Chips
(Not as good as I remembered them from last time)

Monday- Sea Day #1

Brunch at George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Brunch

Eggs Benedict, cheddar grits, side of bacon
(These were "eggcenlent")

Cezzanne Resaturant/ Lido Buffet(I don't remember what was good and what wasn't)  


Baked Stuffed White Mushrooms
(These were great, I could have had two orders)
Spicy Alligator Fritters
(Tasted like Gator)
Spaghetti Carbonara
(I got the smaller appetizer portion and it was very good.)

Main Entrées
Broiled Maine Lobster Tails and Black Tiger Shrimp
(Best meal of the cruise, I ordered 3 lobsters!)

Prime Rib
(This was very good, and was the second best dish on the cruise, I would have ordered more if not for the lobster.  I did eat more prime rib later in the cruise.)

Caramelized Apples on Puff Pastry
(It was okay, but there were better desserts out there)
Cherries Jubilee
 (It wasn't great...)

Late Night Room Service

A New Yorker

Traditional Cheesecake
(This was good cheesecake and I enjoyed it a lot)  

 Tuesday- Sea Day #2

Blue Iguana Cantina
Chicken and Egg Tacos with a Breakfast burrito


George Lopez's Punchliner Comedy Brunch
Filet Mignon and eggs
(The steak was very tender and succulent) 

Eggs Benedict

Ham and Cheese Omelet
(The omelets on the cruise were very tasty) 

Late Lunch

Guy's Burger Joint
Pig Patty
(One beef patty and one patty made entirely of bacon I also put caramelized onions and mushrooms on it .


Chilled Cucumber soup with Dill
(Another pleasant surprise) 

A study in Sushi
(This was pretty good, best part of the meal.

Main Entrée
Braised Short Ribs
(They were amazingly tender)

 Lemon Cake
(It was okay, but the Melting Cake was much better)

Carnival's World Renown Warm Melting Cake
(Disclaimer- I DON'T really like chocolate; It was not that good... Chris LOVED it)

Mahogany Bay- Roatan, Honduras


Blue Iguana Cantina
Customized Breakfast Burrito


Blue Iguana Cantina
"Chipotle" style customized Burritos


Smoked Duck and Caramelized Oranges
(It was okay, but I have had better duck before)

Chilled Creamy Peach Soup 
(I love a good peach dish)

Shark and Langoustino Fire Cracker Roll
(I took a bite out of a shark)

Main Entrees
Assorted Seafood, Newburg Style
(I was not really sure what "Newburg" meant but it was pretty tasty)

Braised Lamb Shank in a Burgundy Sauce
(I don't normally eat lamb, and this didn't do anything to change that)

(Definitely my favorite of all our desserts, I had 3 servings!)

Late Night Snack

Pizza Pirate
Margarita Pizza
(It was not very good... I should have stuck with Pepperoni)

Thursday- Belize


Cezzane Restaurant/ Lido Buffet

Bacon and cheese Omelet
(Just like last time, these are the best omelets I have ever had... yet they seem so simple to make)


Cezzane Restaurant/ Lido Buffet
A Variety of "Comfort Food" and "Cajun Delights"



Lasagna Bolognese
(I am not a lasagna fan, and this did nothing to change that)

Oyster Rockefeller
(These were pretty good)

Main Entrées
Petite Filet Mignon and Braised Boneless Short-Rib
(Tender and succulent, one of the four times on the cruise I ordered filet mignon)

Grilled Red Snapper
(I have never had red snapper before, and this was great)

Old-fashioned apple pie
(They should do this more often.)

Warm chocolate Melting cake
(This is like a brownie sundae) 

Friday- Cozumel
Blue Iguana Cantina  
Breakfast Tacos and Burrito
Fish and Chips
Calamari Fritters
Seafood Bouillabaisse  
Octopus Salad
Fried Cod Filets
(I did not like the bouillabaisse or the octopus, but the cod and the calamari were great!)

(Much better than I remember, I didn't tell Kellie what it was until after we finished.)

Seafood Platter 

Main Entrées
Chateaubriand with sauce béarnaise
(This was so good, people around me started ordering it after they saw me eating it.)

Penne Siciliana
(This was excellent, I enjoyed it way more than Kellie)

Baked Alaska
(This sounded wonderful and turned out to just be Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich)

Amaretto Cake
(This was really good)

 Sea Day #3
Cezzanne Restaurant/ Lido Deck
Customized Omelet

George Lopez Punchliner Comedy Brunch
Eggs Benedict and grits
(Why change if it ain't broke)

Filet Mignon and eggs
(Again, if it ain't broke...)


Chocolate Extravaganza Buffet
(I love chocolate, and this was tremendous)

Guy's Hamburgers
(I had a regular cheeseburger and added grilled onions...delicious)


New England Crab Cake
(I had eaten most of it by the time I remembered to take a picture)
Frog Legs with Provençale Herb Butter
(I got two servings of these, they were pretty good)

Main Entrée
Prime Rib with Baked Potato
(What a great way to finish the cruise, I had Two!)

Grand Mariner Soufflé
(Best dessert of the cruise, Save the best for last I guess)

Kellie and I decided to pick ONE item from each category as our favorite:
Appetizer: Escargot
Main Entrée: Lobster Tail 
Dessert: Grand Mariner Souffle