Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thoughts on why I teach

I can't believe this school year is moving along so quickly!  This has been (with a few hitches) one of the best years I've had teaching.  I love this group of 8th graders...even the ones who drive me crazy at times.  Don't get me wrong, it's not always been easy, but well worth the effort.  One VERY ADHD (& not on his meds) kid told me yesterday that I was the only teacher who would "put up" with him.  The others just got mad.  I told him it was because as much as I want to tie him to his desk and put duct tape over his mouth sometimes (just kidding), I did care about him and his education.  I love that I can joke with them and still teach them something.  One of my former SPED students came to see me a couple of days ago. He said he was going to see all of his "favorite" teachers to say goodbye because he was leaving school to go to Job Corps.  I am so proud of him for what he has accomplished and honored that he considers me one of his favorite teachers.  My journey with this particular student was not always smooth and easy, but well worth the effort. I have sat on the floor in the hall and held a 16 year old girl while she cried because she thought she was pregnant (she wasn't) and was afraid to tell her mother.  She has graduated now but still calls me "Mom" and comes by to see me from time to time. I think what some of these kids need most of all is someone to give them boundaries. They all know that they can come to me any time for anything and I will be straight with them.  I will joke around with them and let them joke back with me, but they learn quickly where the line is between "far enough" and "too far". 

 Don't get me wrong, I do not have that kind of rapport with all of my students, there are a few who just tolerate me as I do them, because we don't have a choice, and a few that end up having schedules changed because we can't even get to that "tolerate" level, but  the ones like  the three kids I just talked about are the reason I do what I do and I wouldn't change it for anything!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Parenthood and Grandparent-hood!

We have added another member to the Hawkins family!  Little Zoey Louise Trammell was born June 23rd at 12:16 a.m. 8 pounds, 14.6 ounces, 21 inches long. We now have two boys & two girls!  She is healthy, happy, and looks just like Robyn.  This was without a doubt the hardest of the four.  They induced Robyn at about 9:00 Tuesday morning.  After two days Robyn stopped dilating and had started to swell so they did a C-section.  I was okay with it all until she started to swell.  My stress level reached it's peak when Zoey was born & nobody could tell us if Robyn was okay.  There has only been one other time in my life that I was that frightened.  That was when Malinda was so sick and in the emergency room the last time before her surgery.  Her blood pressure was 60/40 and still dropping.  They couldn't get an IV in because she was so dehydrated and without the IV her blood pressure would continue to drop.  I honestly thought I was watching my daughter die and there was nothing I could do.  There is no more helpless feeling than that!  I felt pretty much the same way right after Zoey was born. There was just a few minutes (maybe 10) that I didn't know if Robyn was okay or not.  In both cases, with Malinda and Robyn, everything turned out okay and today they are both healthy and happy with daughters of their own but I will never forget that feeling of helplessness.

I can't believe that Zoey will be a month old before I see her again.  I wish they were closer to home.  I can't wait to see her again. I want to see all of my grand kids at the same time in the same place! I want to get a picture of all 4 of them together on memaw's porch swing! At least the boys will be here for a week next month.  I always look forward to having them here.  The pool is ready and waiting.  I am ready for them.  They are getting so big now.  I don't know how much longer they will want to give up a week of their summer to spend it with Mimi & Papaw but I hope they will come for at least a few more years.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


 Okay, for some reason I got it in my head that little Zoey Louise Trammell would make her entrance into the world today.  Maybe that's the reason  I've been wide awake since 3 a.m. but whatever the reason, here I am.
I want to go to Virginia and just stay until the baby gets here but I know that's not reasonable.  She is due on the 18th, this is the 16th and she could be as much as two weeks late!  As much as I would like to do that, we just can't afford to.
When Becky was born, the doctor thought she was coming 2 weeks early so we called mama and she caught the next flight to Miami. Not only was Becky not 2 weeks early, she was 6 days late!  My poor mom was there with us in a 1 bedroom apartment for 3 long weeks!  She never once complained but I know she had to have gotten tired of sleeping on the couch and not being at home with Daddy and her other 3 kids.
My problem is that I have been present for the birth of my other 3 grand kids and desperately want to be there when Zoey is born.  I was in the delivery room when Jonathan was born and actually took him from the delivery room to the nursery to be weighed, measured and get his first bath.  I will never forget that feeling!  Becky had given me the best gift she could ever have given me.  I was outside the delivery room door when Noah was born and heard him cry for the first time.  Vivienne was a C-section baby so I had to wait in the waiting room for her, but I got to hold her first (after her mom & dad of course).  Malinda had said that they would just have to flip a coin to see whether Joan or I got to hold her first.  I don't know if I won the toss or Malinda just decided, but she will never know what that meant to me!....or maybe she will ...when she is waiting for Vivienne's first baby to be born.
Unless you are a mom, you can't imagine what you go through when your baby is having a baby.  People tend to think that giving birth is such a natural thing that it's not that big of a deal, but when it's your daughter in there having a baby it's different.  You just want to be there to know that everything is going well and that YOUR baby is okay.  I know that the dad's mother is anxious to see her grandchild, but believe me being the mother's mother is different!  No matter how much you love your daughter-in-law, she is still not your daughter.  As a mother, the hardest thing in the world is to watch you child go through pain and not be able to do anything to help, but you just want to be there... to give comfort if nothing else.
I have made more than my share of mistakes as a mother, but it was out of ignorance, I always thought I was doing what was best for my kids.  If I had motherhood to do over again there are things I would change, but in the end, all you can hope for is that your kids don't suffer any long lasting damage because you didn't know any better and that they forgive you for your mistakes.
I'm sure that Robyn and Andrew will make their share of mistakes with Zoey, but maybe when she grows up she will forgive them just as I hope my kids have forgiven me for all of my mistakes and based on my kids, Zoey will turn out just fine in spite of it all!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Snow...past, present and maybe future...

This has been a strange winter. We have snow again!   I guess Speck the cat knew what we were in for even if we didn't.  This summer when the temperature was still reaching highs of 105, he starting putting on his winter coat, including a long thick mane.
The last time I remember having this much snow was in 1968.  We were out of school for Spring Break and I was spending a few days with my cousin Susan in town.  We got 13 inches of snow and were snowed in for a week!  Aunt Jimmie & Uncle H.C. live on a dead end street just behind the hospital.  It is all developed now, but back then there were lots of hills and few streets or houses to get in our way.  The neighborhood was filled with kids my age and we were all friends so we spent hours out in the snow. We had so much fun sledding on aluminum trash can lids, making snow ice cream, and just hanging out together. That was probably the best Spring Break I ever had!
Cut to today, 40+ years later.  The snow is beautiful, but I went out for about 15 minutes and that was enough!  I love to just sit and watch the birds in the feeder.  Terry and I have an agreement.  The front yard is off limits!  That is mine.  The snow will last longer and stay pretty for a long time without a lot of footprints messing it up.  When I went out this morning to take pictures, the only marks in the front yard were those of the cats and even the cats seem to understand the rules because their prints are all over the back yard but only around the perimeter of the front!  I have good (and smart) cats.
According to the Farmers Almanac, we will have another big snow in March.  I guess we will have to wait and see.  If we do, I hope Jonathan and Noah make memories with good friends like the ones I have of that Spring Break 1968.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Adios Mexico. Hello home!

Ok.  I tried to post this last night but Explorer was acting crazy & kept locking up.

Well, this was the last day of the cruise.  I woke up early this morning & went out on the balcony to watch the sun come up.  This was an everyday occurrence on the other two cruises but for some reason this time I slept late almost every morning.  Anyway as I was sitting there watching the sky turn from black to gray to orange & then blue, I spotted something in the water.  At first I thought it was just the shadows from the swells but then something jumped out of the water!  I watched for a minute thinking that it was maybe a flying fish but then 3, 4, 5 more started jumping & I dawned on me that I was watching dolphins at play in the swells!!  They seemed so small but I realized that it was because the ship is so big and we are so far up. I tried to get the camera & take a picture but by the time I got it, they were gone.  Later this morning I spotted one more for just a brief second and then it too was gone.  I may not have gotten a picture but I will never forget watching the dolphins play in the ocean swells! 

We haven’t gotten out much today.  I really have enjoyed just sitting out on the balcony and listening to the waves hit the ship.  We went up on deck for a while but it was so windy and the wind was very cool.  I finally gave up & we came back to the room.  Our deck was a lot better.  The wind was blocked so I stayed out there for a long time.  I only came in when the “Frenchies” in the cabin next door came out and broke the spell.  They are very loud and apparently have no idea that there are other people on the ship!  Anyway, I just came in and sat on the couch and watched the ocean from inside where I couldn’t hear them yell to each other.

All in all, it has been a very relaxing five days and I am so glad that we came.  Next time though, we will pick a time when the kids are in school.  I will never understand how parents can just turn their kids loose on a ship!  Sitting here now waiting to go to dinner, it sounds like a herd of elephants in the hall.

We just got back from dinner.  Warm Chocolate Melting Cake!  It's a good thing I can't get that everyday.  I would have to buy all new clothes about once a month!  The 8th grader just found out tonight that I was a teacher.  I had to show him how to hold a coffee cup.  He said "I just learned something from a teacher, I'm on vacation, I'm not supposed to be learning anything."  I told him that I was on vacation too & not supposed to be teaching anything but that's what we do best.  He learns & I teach.  He was a pretty good kid after all & his grandmother wasn't too bad after she stopped trying to impress everybody with how many times she has been on a cruise!

Running out of time & NOT going to buy anymore so the next time you hear from me, we will be in Mobile

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mayans & Carlos & Charlie's

I was too tired last night to write.  We had a great day Monday at the ruins!  I have been teaching this stuff for several years now but this was the first time I actually had seen the things I have been teaching about.  I know to most of you it’s just a bunch of tumbled down buildings and a lot of rocks, but to me it was awe inspiring!  Our tour guide was a native Mayan so it was even better.  He told us many things I didn’t know, like true Mayans all have the same birthmark on their lower back (just above the butt crack) and that the Mayans are believed to be one of the lost tribes of Israel.  We looked at everything.  I even climbed the pyramid all the way to the top!  I got my Mayan birth certificate on banyan tree bark inside a pouch made of local hemp.  I could have stayed there exploring all day.  He took us to a cenote which is a sinkhole.  It is 44 meters deep and is where the ancient Mayans got their drinking water.  The water is so clear!  He told us about when they discovered these particular ruins they found bowls & other vessels at the bottom of the cenote, along with 15 skeletons!  It seems that the unfortunate ones went down to get water, stumbled & fell into the cenote & drowned. 

We left the ruins & went to the beach.  The breeze felt good, but the water was so cold that only a few brave souls dared to go further than ankle deep!  I went in up to my knees so Terry could take my picture & when I came out my legs were numb from the cold!

Today we went shopping in Cozumel.  We docked at a different place than we have before so were totally lost at first.  We did find some good bargains and had lunch at Carlos & Charlie’s.  I love that place.   The people are so crazy!  The balloon guy had a tip can that read on one side “my 15 wives & 82 children would appreciate a nice tip” & on the other side “I accept tips or sex”.   I did not participate in the conga line this time around.  Now we are sitting in our room so that I can type this up & get it loaded.  They are having a special ½ price deal on internet only from 7 to 9 so I am trying to take advantage of it. 

Tomorrow is our last “Fun Day at Sea”.  Thursday morning we will be back in Mobile and back to the real world. It has been fun and relaxing but I think I will be ready to get home on Thursday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cruise Day 2

Sorry this was supposed to be posted yesterday!
Today was a “Fun Day at Sea”.   We didn’t do much today.  Mostly we wandered around to ship finding our way to & from everything!  We went to hear the speech on shopping.  We will be in Progresso tomorrow.  We were cautioned not to buy anything there.  This tourist thing is still pretty new to the people there & they haven’t figured out that they need Carnival’s recommendation to keep the tourists coming back.  It seems they are not above putting plastic in a setting & selling it as the real thing.  One couple bought something for 100 pesos (about $40 American) they were charged $100 American on their credit card!   They have also been caught stamping fake silver as real. 

Tonight was Formal night in the dining.  Everybody at our table showed up tonight.  Everybody except us is from Pensacola.  The Swans are nice.  She works at a credit union & he is retired from the Air Force & now works as a Civil Engineer.  The other family (of 6) is another story.  Grandmother is so busy trying to impress everybody with how many cruises they have been on and where they have been that they don’t have time to talk about anything else.  They have their 8th grade grandson with them (I just can’t get away from 8th graders!)  He is so funny.  He was a real pain the first night but was a lot more talkative tonight.  He told me he liked my outfit because it was “sparkly”. 

We made the rounds of most of the photographers after dinner.  That is always fun.  Now if just a few of the pictures turn out half way decent!

Big day tomorrow.  I finally get to tour the Mayan ruins.  Internet is running slow so I don’t know if I will be able to post pictures just yet.  I will keep trying ...