Friday, November 14, 2014

PRIDE Restored... October 2014

Welcome Home
October 23, 2014

As many of you know, I attended the University of Oklahoma for my undergraduate degree in Music Education. I knew when I was only a freshman in high school that I wanted to become a band director and help students like my 2 band directors helped me. In fact, I have said numerous times before that my high school Head Band Director, John Standridge, has truly helped shape me into the person and especially the teacher I am today. However, there is also another mentor in my life who has helped me become who I am today. 

One of the many performing opportunities I had as a high school student was an annual All-Region band clinic at Stephen F. Austin University in Nachodoges,TX  just 1 hour from my house in Arp. While at this All-Region Band clinic in 1998 I was able to be under the direction of Mr. Brian Britt, who at the time I had no idea who he was. He was the associate director of bands at SFA and had grown that band from the bottom up. He was the clinician for this All-Region Band my freshman year and I was able to see him in action. He was so encouraging and uplifting to us all and even when there were times of great distress in our ensemble sound, he would encourage us while he helped us correct the problem. Despite this being an honor group, we had issues with the music and he treated us like we were in his own college band. It felt so cool as a high school freshman to be treated like a real adult. That years' All-Region Band concert was the moment I decided I not only wanted to teach band, but that I want to be Brian Britt. I wanted to teach college band and help young students grow in music and help them become ambassadors for music. 

As the years in high school progressed, I had countless other opportunities to be in Mr. Britt's band at SFA; rather it be for All-Region or All-Area band and even SFA Summer Band Camps. In 1999, my junior year of high school, Mr. Britt left SFA to teach in Round Rock. I remember thinking "Well, now SFA is out of the question (for college)". In all reality, I did not want to go to SFA because that is where 70% of the graduates from Arp High School went and I just always felt like I could do more and go elsewhere. It was during my junior year that I began looking at colleges and auditioning for scholarships. I traveled the state of Texas and the Southwest United States in general auditioning with my saxophone for major universities' saxophone studios and Music Education departments.

During the following 12-15 months I was offered numerous scholarships, including offers from the University of Texas (God forbid... Ha, He knew what He was doing), The University of North Texas, Ohio State University, The University of Michigan as well as full ride offers from Texas Tech University (I hated Lubbock) and Stephen F. Austin University. I knew I wanted to "Go Big or Go Home" so I decided to venture out to  and audition at The University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK. 

My grandpa played football at OU in the late 1940s and my family and I were Sooners through and through; however, I do remember going through rebellion phases for a little while! My parents and I headed to Norman and ventured around the campus and town. It was an amazing place and the people, ALL THE PEOPLE were such a joy and were so kind and friendly. Literally, everyone we talked to or had any interaction with treated us like we were one of them, even though we were from "Texas". 

I audition for Gail Hall and other members of the audition panel and left Norman thinking this is where I belong. At this time, in late 2000, Mr. Britt was still teaching in Round Rock, TX and I thought I would never see him again. In February 2001 while I was playing in the ATSSB All-State Band at TMEA, I ran into Mr. Britt at one of the music exhibits. I approached him and before I could even say "Hello, Mr. Britt" he was already saying "Hello there Kellie. How are you?" I could not believe that he remembered me. Wow, I wasn't even one of his students. I was merely a student in the honor bands where he was the clinician and he remembered ME by name. Wow! I was in total awe! 

It was March 2001 and I was having a real hard time deciding where I wanted to go to college. I had received numerous offers as stated above and really felt like OU was where I was supposed to be but the money and the full-ride offer was in Lubbock at Texas Tech. My grandfather, father and family members in general kept pushing for OU and I eventually decided that Lubbock was too far, and too boring, and decided to go to OU. I began the long process of paperwork and scholarship acceptance and it was during that time that I learned the OU's longtime Band Director Gene Thrailkill was retiring and OU decided on hiring an alumni of its' own, Mr. Brian Britt. That sealed the deal... I was going to be a SOONER for sure now. 

In the fall of 2001, I packed up my things and moved to Norman, Oklahoma to begin my journey as a Sooner. I had high hopes of being in the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band as well as all of the many other amazing adventures I would have while at OU. I had to report nearly a week earlier than the other college freshman for the Pride of Oklahoma Marching camp. It is here where my life would truly change forever. This camp took 2-3 days as I recall and I made great friendships with other freshman and sure enough, on the very 1st day Mr. Britt once again called me by name and remembered me as if I was one of his own. I was at home! 

It was a Thursday night around 6:00pm and I headed over to Catlett Music Center where the results for the 2001 Pride of Oklahoma auditions were being posted. I remember waiting outside in the dreadful heat for the sign to be posted. Finally, feeling as if it took hours, the large white sign with 280+ names became visible. I looked down the Alto Saxophone line and I didn't see my name. "Kellie Klingsick"... I was silently saying as I continued to look for my name. I skimmed down the list about 4 times before stepping back and realizing I was NOT ON THE LIST. I then looked for an "alternate" category and didn't see my name there either. 

The walk back to the dorms was perhaps the longest walk I can remember in my life. I cried and cried AND CRIED. The dreams I had for myself and for my college career had been blown up and I was left in the midst of the pieces. I remember telling my parents "Forget it, I will just come home and go to TJC with the rest of the people in Arp". In fact, I began packing the little amount of stuff I had unpacked and got settled in before my dad said what would shape the rest of that year at OU; "Kellie, why are you giving up? This is just an audition... just one person's opinion. It does not define who you are. If you want to be a band director and go to OU then stay. Who cares if you are not in this band. You can be in other bands." I'm sure I rolled my eyes in disgust but in the long run I decided to stay at OU. And it was one of the best decisions of my life! 

I spent the remainder of that weekend going to the Freshman Orientation that I would have missed if I was in The Pride because of the rehearsals. I was able to get the true freshman experience that I would not have been able to have otherwise. That fall semester was very difficult for me because I felt left out and excluded, especially in my Music Education classes because all of the others knew each other better and were in The Pride getting to share all of the amazing experiences with each other. 

That semester I was in the Symphonic Band, which was under the direction of Mr. Britt so I was still able to have the experience I had dreamed about, which was to one day be in Mr. Britt's band. Sure, it was not the band I wanted it to be but it was a band... of his! I remember a Monday in October after OU had just come back from a road game in Lincoln, Nebraska where The Pride took a small pep-band and Mr. Britt came up to me that Monday in Symphonic Band rehearsal and said "Hey Kellie, I talked to your uncle Mike this weekend at the game. He was so excited for you to be at OU and for you to be in the band. I told him I was excited for you to be at OU too". Later that day Mr. Britt came up to me and said "Kellie, I know you are disappointed at the outcome of this semester but trust me this will make you a better teacher. And isn't that what you came to OU for?" (I can only imagine there was another teenage eye roll at this point too)

But his words have never been more true. That audition and that disappointing semester have made me such a better person and teacher. I have been able to share in students heartaches as they, too, have fallen short of their hopes and dreams. I now have been teaching for 10 years and during those 10 years I have been on many interviews, many of which did not work out in my favor, but I cannot forget the words both my dad and Mr. Britt shared with me; "This will make you a better person". 

The remaining 3 years at OU were some of the best of my life and I eventually was able to live the dream I had so desperately wanted to live. In 2002, I was selected to The Pride of Oklahoma playing tenor saxophone and then again in 2003. I was able to perform and travel with this Nationally renowned and prestigious band at numerous events and games including a National Championship game, 2 BCS bowl games and march in the Rose Parade on New Years Day. The experiences I had during these 2 years were some that I would NOT trade for the world and some I still look back on today as I tell my 2 children these great stories. I spent these 3 years learning from the man I so desperately wanted to be like and I graduated OU a year early thanks to the intense dedication that I gave my freshman year since I did not make The Pride in 2001. 

I left OU in 2005 and hit the ground running, so to speak, in my career as I became the head band director of a small school in Southeast Oklahoma called Bowlegs. I then became the band director at Grove School in Shawnee where I was able to take the band program from a dying 50 students to over double its' size to 108 when I left in 2011. The past 4 years I have not been teaching band and once again not living the "dream" I created for myself but I am living a different dream. My "New York Yankees job",as Mr. Britt calls it, was and will always be teaching band and eventually college band but right now I am serving in a different type of "Yankees" job... I am a mom!
And isn't that the best job anyway! 

Mr. Britt left OU in 2012 to serve as a Fine Arts Director in Richardson but during his leave from OU, The Pride felt major turmoil and this brought down everyone from the students, the School of Music and The College of Fine Arts, the fans and especially the alumni of The Pride of Oklahoma. Finally in October of this year, this turmoil came to a stand still as OU President David Boren finally came to terms with how bad it really was and the former Pride director stepped down. At that point Mr. Britt was re-hired and The Pride of Oklahoma was restored. This made me especially happy because I, among hundreds and thousands others, am a life that was touched and changed by Brian Britt. It really hits home because one of my very 1st students I worked with while at Grove is now a freshman at OU and in The Pride. It brings a smile to my face EVERY TIME I think about him being able to have the same type of experiences and life-changing moments as I did. 

Mr. Britt, 
Welcome Home! It's great to have you back! I will never forget you and I thank you for the 4 wonderful years I had at OU! You helped me become who I am today and for that I am forever grateful! You are an amazing teacher, leader and mentor and overall just a class act! BOOMER SOONER! 

God is Good... All the time! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The First Day of the REST OF MY LIFE

June 12, 2012

The day has finally arrived! My delivery Day is here!
I cannot believe it is time to meet Baby Luke! I have waited for this day for a LONG time. I have always dreamed of having a little boy and today I will meet my new prince charming!

Last night my sister drove in from Dallas for the big day and she helped calm my nerves a LOT! I was a little frazzled before she got here but once she arrived I was able to settle down and really focus on the task and event at hand! Thank you Allison for your comfort and support!

I had to do a DEEP cleaning of MYSELF last night since I will be having surgery. The doctor gave me a special soap to use to help get rid of any bacteria. This soap, called Hepiclense, is supposed to kill any bacteria on your skin prior to surgery. I had to take a long shower last night first using my own soap and then using this hospital formulated soap. I had to turn off the water and scrub with a NEW loofah for 5 minutes to prevent rinsing off the soap too early. Let me tell you.... it got REALLY COLD, REALLY FAST! I had to have Chris sit in the bathroom with a stop watch and time me to make sure I scrubbed for the whole 5 minutes. I also had to use a towel that had been washed in special detergent the day before.

In addition to cleaning myself, I had to clean my sheets and bed linens as well. I had to wash them in the special detergent as well. In fact, the nurse who gave me all of this information and performed my Pre-Op appointment told me that it was best to sleep alone the night before this surgery. So I was not even able to sleep in the same bed as my husband the night before our child was born. This was a little MUCH for me and I was a little disturbed by this aspect but we followed the rules anyway and slept in separate beds! In fact, poor Allison had to sleep on the couch! Sorry Allie!

I woke up and was not able to eat or drink ANYTHING until after the surgery! It was so tempting to just drink a sip of water but NO... I followed the rules! I was so excited about the whole thing that even though I was hungry and thirsty, I just wanted to meet my SON!

Chris took Natalie to Mother's Day Out and Allison helped me prepare for the hospital stay and get bags into the car. I had a well prepared checklist and Allison helped me make sure EVERYTHING was accounted for. I had to be at the hospital at 11am so at 10:40 we left the house. Of all things to encounter on this day, we ran into a funeral procession crossing I-45 on our way to the hospital so I was actually about 7 minutes late getting there!

As soon as we arrived my nurse, Becky, took us to our room and immediately started prepping me! I got into the boring hospital gown and made myself comfy on the hard hospital bed that would be my home for the next 48+ hours! She poked and prodded at me for what seemed like hours before she found a vein and hooked me up to an IV. I had to get 2 FULL bags of fluid before the surgery and this took some time so she got me started ASAP! After this the Anesthesiologist came in and went over the procedure with me. I was a little nervous about getting a "spinal" but this young doctor, who we all called "Skippy", reassured me it was not a big deal!

The "Before" picture...

At about 12:15 they double checked Chris' blue sterile linens and had me walk down to the Operating Room. I waved at everyone in the hall and walked to the OR!

Here I am about to walk down to the OR!

Chris waited in the hall of the Or while they gave me the "spinal". Well, let me tell you, "Skippy" was WRONG! The "spinal" WAS A BIG DEAL! It began with the head Anesthesiologist poking me in the back trying to get the right spot in my spine. He did not have any luck so he tried again... AND AGAIN... AND AGAIN!

Dr. Markos arrived and had already "scrubbed in" and was waiting so he came around and had me lean in his chest to better help push my spine out. Let me tell you, this was AWKWARD and a little uncomfortable! I had my head in my OB/GYN's chest for nearly 10 minutes... just starring at his grey chest hair! Yeah... a little weird. After 5 pokes, the head anesthesiologist called for the department lead to come and try to find the right spot. I had been in the Or for about 30 minutes now and no baby! In fact, I didn't even have the drugs yet. Finally the Department lead arrived and tried to poke me. He tried and tried and finally after another 2 pokes (IN MY SPINE) he found it! After 7 pokes I was hooked up to the good stuff and the process FINALLY got underway.

Dr. Markos asked me what kind of music I liked and I said JAZZ so he plugged in his iPhone and so it began! They did the usual "pinch" to make sure the drugs were working and then went and got Chris. He was anxiously waiting and wondering why it was taking so long! Chris came in and they began. "Skippy" told me they had begun at about 1:18pm. I was so nervous, scared and ready ALL AT THE SAME TIME! Chris was right there holding my hand! I began to tear up just thinking about God's Amazing Grace and blessings on me and my family!

For what seemed like hours they kept cutting and getting closer to Baby Luke. Finally, "Skippy" told me he was coming out! I didn't hear crying so I immediately got a little nervous! But then low and behold... Baby Luke entered the world. He was not near as loud as his sister was but he was loud nonetheless!


At 1:30pm David Luke Davis entered the world! I was so very happy and grateful for this gift God had given me. Just like his sister, he was greeted with doctors and nurses commenting on his "big-ness". Dr. Markos said "Wow, he is a big boy!" Dr. Young, who was the C-Section Assist Doctor, said "Wow, he is healthy and big". This was a shock to me since at 36 week he only weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces. We expected a 7 pound baby! Yet again, God had other plans! Luke weighed 8 pounds and 12 ounces and was 19 inches long!

They continued to sew me up and Chris was able to go over to see the nurses work on and clean Baby Luke! I was anxiously waiting to see and hold him. I just kept laying there helplessly singing "GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS" to myself. Poor "Skippy" got me a Kleenex and wiped my tears while Chris was away looking at the baby! After a few minutes, they wrapped up Luke and Chris brought him over to me! I reached over and kissed his cheek and just cried and cried.
"Wow, He's a BIG boy", Dr. Markos said.

At about 2:00pm they wheeled me out of the OR back to my room where all of our family was waiting. They all took a look at Baby Luke and then waited in the hallway while I got cleaned up and then nursed Luke! Around 2:45pm everyone came back into the room to hold and touch Baby Luke!

Daddy holding Luke for the 1st time! Makes me tear up a bit!

It was amazing to see all the grandparents hold him and just glow from EAR TO EAR! Dan and Jackie compared him to Chris and his siblings and even Dan's siblings while my parents just starred at his beauty! Everyone was so grateful for a healthy baby and delivery!

Grandpa Dan holding Baby Luke for the 1st time. He is very proud!

Poppy holding Luke for the 1st time. He has always wanted a boy!
It took a grandchild but HE GOT IT!

Gigi Jackie holding Baby Luke... She thought he looked like Chris as a baby!
(More on that in a later post)

Gigi Shirley holding Baby Luke! She immediately starting singing to him! I loved that!

Auntie Allie holding her future Yankees Fan! (Wait... he is ALREADY a Yankees fan!)

God is so AMAZING and GRACIOUS and I am speechless at his mercies. He has blessed my family and I so much and I owe it ALL TO HIM! It brings to mind one of my favorite verses of all time, Jeremiah 29:11- "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

The "After" picture!

May we NEVER forget...


Patience is a Virtue

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's official... We own the house. After 15 months of being homeless Chris and I are finally able to say "we own a house" again. I haven't even made it back to the house yet and I already feel like a totally different person.

My parents came into town this afternoon to help us move this weekend and they stayed at Dan and Jackie's house with the kids while Chris and I went to the title company to sign the closing papers. While we were at the title company Dan and my dad loaded my dad's SUV, my SUV and even Jackie's SUV with more boxes of small things from their garage. When we got back from signing the papers at the title company we ate a quick bite and then we all took all the vehicles down the road to start unloading at the new house. Fortunately it wasn't raining and it wasn't incredibly too hot and steamy so the men were able to do three complete loads in Dan's truck before dark. By 8PM that that night we already had our new garage a third of the way full with stuff from our old garage. At this point it was very organized and I was directing people where to take the boxes they came inside and I was trying to tell them where to put them in the garage if they were supposed to stay outside however; these boxes have been sitting in Dan and Jackie's garage for 15 months and since a lot of them were very dusty and dirty it created an extra step that Allison had to do by using the shop vac to clean out the boxes before they came into the house. My mom, Jackie and Natalie helped do some of the minor cleaning inside the house like vacuuming and cleaning the baseboards while the men unloaded and I directed traffic. Poor baby Luke basically just set there and cried. I'm not sure if he likes the new house at this point. Around 8:30 we called it a night and everybody went back over to Dan and Jackie's house to get some rest.

Around 6 AM everybody was "up and at em" and ready to do a whole new day of unloading at the new house. Allison had developed a cold the previous week so she wasn't quite up to par but she did an amazing job the whole day of still helping as much as she could. Through most of the day my mom and Allison worked on unloading and preparing the kitchen. This was an amazing help to me knowing that they would get all of the kitchen supplies out of the boxes, clean them and put them into their cabinets. At one point I had to leave to go and finish up some work with a consignment sale I was a part of and when I came back mom and Allison had the entire kitchen put together including some of the decorations. It was amazing!!! It was really beginning to feel like "home"!

By 3 PM on Saturday all of the boxes from the garage had been unloaded and a lot of the large furniture including our king size bed from upstairs in Dan and Jackie's house had been brought over to our new house. However the new house looked like a war zone. There were boxes everywhere...some of them were labeled well, some of them weren't labeled at all, some of them were open and some of them are still taped shut. I felt like I was walking on broken glass just coming in and out of the house. I just wanted to be able to come into my house an go right to something.

Before Allison left for Dallas we were able to organize the remaining boxes in the garage. This really helped me to know where stuff is and how I could get to it if I needed it.

I know it will take many weeks and months for me to get my house ready for friends and family to come and visit and even longer to host the party I so desperately want to host, but I know with patience and trust in God it will happen. I have been able to wait patiently for the past 15 months to be able to have this gift from God that is my house so I know I can wait for it all to come together.

I am so very blessed and thank God for His continued blessings each and every day. God is AMAZING! Thank You Lord!

God is good... ALL THE TIME!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Transformation... From Empty Space to "Learning Space"

August 25, 2013
Nearly 1/3 of my life... And many more to come!  

For the past week I have been a Wildkat and it has been FABULOUS! This is my 9th year to attend "Teacher In-service" days and my 4th year to have to attend the "New-Teachers In-Service". While I have not been "New" or a "Rookie" 4 times, I have changed districts (Or in 1 case, STATES) and been "new" to a district 4 times.
I have worked for countless hours the past 10 days to get my room, mind and even heart ready for a new school year and I think I am ready. This will be a whole new experience for me, yet somewhat of a "Second Verse" type of thing at the same time. It is always hard to tell how the year will be just by judging the "Teacher In-Service" days! I have much to learn as a teacher and I think this year will be a "Learning Experience" for everyone involved!
Wednesday, August 14th
Very First Glance of my classroom

Friday, August 16th
The end of the 2 "New-Teacher" workdays

I did A LOT of organizing these two days... Now it is time to decorate and make this room come to life!! 

Friday, August 23rd
I am ready... I think!

the OU "No Sooner Left Behind" tradition continues...

School starts in a few hours... Prayers are appreciated!
God is Good... ALL THE TIME!

Natalie- A Recap

February 6, 2014
"Where has the time gone"

My once little girl has grown up right before our eyes. She is turning into a little girl and not a toddler or Pre-schooler any more! I cannot believe how big and smart she has gotten. She currently attends a day-school here in Conroe at West Conroe Baptist Church 4 days a week. She is learning her letters, numbers, colors... you name it. At home, her and I work nightly on sight-words and reading. Just this month SHE has added 30 new words to her reading vocabulary and is now moving ahead at lightning speeds. I am so proud of her! She takes gymnastic lessons on Monday nights and is loving every minute. She told me she wanted to be a "Summer-saulter" when she grows up! She is a little scared to walk on the tall 3' balance beam alone or turn over on the uneven bars but we have been watching Shannon Miller and Gabby Douglas Olympic videos on YouTube and she is getting more excited and interested in flipping! We will see if her excitement pays off at the next lesson! 

Natalie is ready for Gymnastics! 

As always she LOVES the Carousel. 

Just this month we learned that one of her best friends from school, Lauren, and her family will be picking up and moving to Arizona... THIS WEEK! I don't even know how to begin to explain to a 4.5 year old about never being able to see her best friend again. This past weekend Natalie went to a going away skating party for Lauren and the "Three Amigos" were able to spend time together skating. Natalie had never skated before and with the help of these PVC Pipes called "Skater Trainers" she did VERY well. She has already said she wants to go again (With Lauren... which is so sad) and wants her own skates for Christmas. Sorry sister, Christmas is a LONG time away!

Natalie and her friends Aubrey and Lauren!
They have been friends for over 2 years! 

Natalie and Lauren together ONE MORE TIME! 

She still LOVES being a big sisters and
is constantly helping out with Luke! 

She decided to dress herself last week and in 45* weather she picked out shorts!
She has now become a Texan!

Natalie and "Rainbow Claire"!
My little girl is growing up TOO FAST!

As I have mentioned before, Natalie is a TRUE GIFT from God. She has the heart of a servant and is constantly trying to help whenever we need her to. She loves being with mommy and daddy and Gigi of course! Thank you, Lord for my Nattie!

I love you Natalie Grace! 

God is Good... All the Time! 

The Journey to my Treasure

For the Clueless
March 15, 2014

On Tuesday, March 11th Chris and I celebrated 8 wonderful years of marriage. These 8 years have been full of ups and downs but despite all of that our love has grown stronger and stronger as each year and day have passed. I am happier than I ever have been in my life and I owe it all to God for allowing me to become Mrs. Davis. Chris is such a great husband and I am really lucky to have him in my life. I thank God each and every day for bringing us together.

Tuesday, started out like any other day on Spring Break with late waking, family breakfasts and errands. But as soon as I got home from running around town with Natalie I came home and saw that Chris had posted something on Facebook about an "Anniversary Treasure Hunt". To my knowledge he was still taking a nap in the bedroom so I read the status update and secretly looked around without any luck of finding anything! About 10 minutes later Chris came out of the bedroom and said "Well. what are you waiting for? Start looking." I smiled and gave him a kiss and then STARTED my journey.

Chris's original Facebook post letting me know the fun was to begin! 

He had posted a comment on Facebook called "For the Clueless" last week and told me that it was something for his kids at school. I had some doubts about this last week since I knew he was not friends with his students on Facebook but I figured it was something for his teacher friends and went on. My 1st clue was going back to this post from last week and trying to figure out what it meant.
Chris's "For the Clueless" ...clue #1 

 I read and re-read this clue but nothing... I began to look for the "hint" Chris had hid behind a picture of us on our honeymoon. This hint read "use the first letter or number from each word."

Searching behind the picture for a clue

The hint for clue #1

This hint helped me figure out that the 1st clue used a code and it said "Page 37 of our Prayer Book". We have been going through a Prayer Book together each night and on Page 37 was Clue #2. This clue was probably my favorite because it shows how much Chris and I have grown closer to not only each other in 8 years but also to God. It read as follows "Through God and prayer our marriage has grown stronger. Please take a moment to pray before searching for your next clue. To find your next clue, rearrange the letters on the swing set." I took a quick minute to pray with Chris (and Natalie who was helping me find all of my clues) before stepping outside to figure it out.

Reading clue #2 in our prayer book 

Clue #2

As soon as I stepped outside I was greeted by both Abbey and Oxford to help me look for my hint and location of the next clue. This hint contained 9 letters which I immediately thought read "At Your Car". In fact, I almost just went directly to my car to check. Chris then reminded me that this was not enough letters and I needed to re-think this. He was right... It didn't fit so I decided to go back inside to sit down and try to figure it out. About 15 minutes later I was still without any luck so Chris pulled out something from his pocket that read "For a Kiss"! Seriously, he is such a romantic at heart and I LOVE THIS! This was a hint in trying to figure it out the scrambled letters. The hint was hidden in my saxophone case and said "It starts with C". Since there was a Y in the anagram I figured it had to end in Y... But after another 7-8 minutes I still wasn't having any luck. (If we are ever chosen to go on the Amazing Race, here is where I will lose the $1Million for us... I am NOT good at these things). Chris came up from behind and pulled out another "For a Kiss" hint from his pocket (Which he had just created to help me figure it out). It read "It ends in D". About 3 minutes later I figured out that the letters were supposed to say COURTYARD. So I headed out to our Courtyard to locate Clue #3.

The anagram I had to unscramble... Harder than it looks! 

I need some help... But only for a kiss! Gladly! 

Searching in my saxophone case for a hint to help unscramble. 

Hint #1 for the unscramble... 

Freshly made hint #2 for the unscramble! Haha... I am really bad at these. 

I searched and searched and finally found it underneath one of our patio chairs. This clue was extra special because it really represented me. It included a short description of the next clue location but more importantly it used a MUSIC hint for me to de-code to figure out where Clue #4 was. Clue #3 read "Since moving down here, you have started selling two products. One of these is linked to your next clue location. Determine the code provided by the musical staff below to help you discover the location of your next clue." I knew it would either be about Thirty-One or Plexus since those were the 2 products I have started selling. However, the sad thing was that Chris made the music code in BASS CLEF... Sadly, since being out of band I have rarely used bass clef so I had to go inside and figure it out. The music Code spelled out "A FAB BAG". (I was HIGHLY impressed with this one not only because it really represented me but the wording is so NOT Chris! I was impressed he came up with this wording. Way to go Chris... Very Cool!)  I knew this meant a Thirty-One bag so I started searching my large inventory in the bedroom closet.

Searching for Clue #3 in the courtyard. 

Haha... This is me trying to remember bass clef under pressure! 

Clue #3

I practically looked in every Thirty-One bag I owned when Chris timidly said "It may not be a bag per say". I then knew it was one of my Thirty-One Organizing Cubes. Inside one of these Cubes was Clue #4. It read "Our love has grown stronger each year. Our first year down here was difficult as we waited for our house in Oklahoma to sell. We survived it though and are better off for it. you will find you next clue in the room we lived in for a year, while waiting for our house to sell." I knew that this was at Dan and Jackie's house but Chris said that I had to stop and get ready for the evening. At this point I was not sure what to expect. In fact, during the time of me getting ready Chris reminded me that we were on a time schedule. My mind was exploding with possibilities but I continued to get ready so we could remain on time.

Clue #4

When we got to Dan and Jackie's I dropped off the kids (literally) and ran upstairs to look in our old room for the clue. I looked in the closet, under the bed and finally found it under some old pictures on the bookshelf. This clue was very special because it led us to the most memorable location in our 3 years down here... The Hospital where Luke was born. Clue #5 read "Since we moved down here, the biggest event of our lives has been the birth of our son. Find your next clue at the place where our son was born." 

Clue #5

Next Stop... St. Luke's for clue #6! 

 I smiled and was giddy inside thinking of what could be next in this adventure. We kissed the kids goodbye and headed to St. Luke's. This was very interesting because I was not sure where inside of St. Luke's we would be going. To the Labor and Delivery floor? To Dr. Markos office? I was not sure... I felt a little weird. We headed to the front desk and Chris told the receptionist "This is Kellie Davis and she is on a treasure hunt. She has been searching all day for clues... do you have anything for her?" At this point I didn't know what to think or say. There were flower shop delivery men all over so I was not sure if the treasure was flowers or a visit around the hospital or what. I really felt like I was on Amazing Race at this point asking "Do you have a clue for me?". Marilyn, the receptionist, looked over the front desk and sure enough found a clue that said "Kellie Davis" on the front. I took the clue and said thank you. I began to open it and noticed it was leading us to one of our favorite Date Night restaurants, Benihana. Clue #6 read "One of our favorite pastimes together is eating at a restaurant. The dining options in Shawnee were scant. We have found many places to eat down here that we have loved, but there is one we agree is our favorite. Let's go eat there tonight."

Reading Clue #6 with excitement. 

Clue #6

I knew we had a reservation for 6pm but it was still before 5 so I was not sure what we were going to do... Never fear, Chris Davis had a plan! We headed to Happy Hour for Sushi and drinks. I am not a HUGE sushi person but we tried 2 new styles and I loved them. This was special because it allowed me to share something that Chris loves with HIM on our anniversary.

Happy Hour Sushi. 

The California Roll

The Las Vegas roll... A new one for both of us and it was FANTASTIC! 

After this we headed to our special dinner table where we enjoyed one of a kind eating of Japanese cuisine. We have been really watching what we eat for the past few months but this was a celebration so we decided to splurge a little bit. The chef came to our table and cooked our meal specifically for us and even helped celebrate our anniversary with a special CLUE from the restaurant manager himself halfway through the meal. This was so special because I was able to read this clue and figure out that it led me to my real gift at home after the meal! Clue #7 read "As I lay beside you every night, I consider how fortunate I am to be married to such a wonderful wife and mother. You gift is lying underneath your pillow". (Seriously... SO ROMANTIC! I was tearing up with emotions at this point. He is the best!) We continued our special meal and even was treated to a special Anniversary dessert afterwards and a commemorative picture from Benihana!

Getting my clue from the manager! 

The fantastic meal prepared for us by a special chef. 

Clue #7

Such a wonderful and memorable meal! 

We ended our meal and headed home for me to find my 8th and Final Clue. This was the most special not only because it contained the gift but because it contained heart felt romantic expressions of love from Chris. My gifts were 2 special charms and multiple spacers for my charm bracelet that Chris got me for my 29th birthday. These charms signified the beginning of our journey with an "Underground London" since that is where we honeymooned and a "treasure box" charm since this 8th anniversary was spent looking for my treasure. I also added some color to my bracelet with some specially picked Ruby spacers and a special "Mom" spacer as well. This really made my bracelet even more complete with hand picked charms from my honey.

My 8th and final clue 

"My Flat in London" charm to remember when and where our journey started 8 years ago! 

My "Treasure Box" to remember tonight's treasure! Absolutely perfect! 

The night ended with us picking up our kids and then going back home and showing Natalie my bracelet and explaining what each charm stood for and describing to her how happy each of us was. This was the best part of the whole day and I thank God that we are able to demonstrate Godly love to each other and be an example of this for our kids.

After explaining the bracelet and it's significance to Natalie. 

The BEST 8 Years of my life... I cannot wait to see what the next 88 hold for us! 

Chris's itinerary.... This is why I love him so much! 

This was one of the best and most romantic days of my life, not to mention most exciting times of looking for my clues. My husband is such an amazing man and I could not have asked for a better anniversary gift or man! Ladies, be jealous... I have a fantastic guy! Chris Davis, you are the best! Thank you for choosing me to be your wife! I love you so much!
God is good... All the Time.