Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving News

What’s been going on with the Hawkins family? I’m sure that this question has been plaguing you since my last entry. For those of you who are interested, here are a few items.

Stephanie and I ran the Healdsburg Wine Country ½ Marathon this past weekend. I finished in 2:55. Steph beat me by about 30 minutes and the winner finished in 1:05! (That is a 5 minute mile for 13.1 miles !!!!!) Steph plans on continuing her running, while I plan on beginning MMA training (exercise only). Running is too rough on my legs.

Claire is still plugging away at school. She is doing a great job with her receptive language, but continues to struggle with her expressive. Although, she did manage to tell Stephanie that her new chicken dish was “gross” and that she was not eating it. Claire is a smart little girl, she is just perplexing. Every once in a while she will burst out with a great sentence and the very next minute, she will revert back to her jargon. I really don’t know what to think about her progress or how to get her to try harder. I am confident that she will be able to “mainstream”; we’ll probably just continue to take our lumps while getting there. Oh. Her new favorite activity is locking Bruno the dog inside her tent that we have set up in the playroom. Bruno really loves this! I love Claire. She makes me smile and laugh every day. She is truly a blessing!

Max continues to do well. We received his first 2nd grade report card a couple of weeks ago. He received all “E’s” (excellent) with the exception of one “S” (satisfactory). The “S” had to do with the area of language development, so the fact that he did not excel in comparison to his peers is neither a surprise nor a disappointment. Max is also participating in a cool hockey program sponsored by the Nashville Predators. It is called G.O.A.L., which stands for “get out and learn”. He gets a completely free, one hour hockey lesson every Wednesday for four weeks. They gave him a free jersey and stick and let him borrow the rest of the equipment at no cost!! Awesome!! I did buy him a new helmet, so I could “doctor” it for his Harmony. I cut away a little padding so he could wear his device along with the helmet. I am the master of this surgery, so if you need help with a baseball helmet, hockey helmet, etc., let me know! Oh yeah. Max had his first two sleepovers recently. He spent the night at a buddy’s house one weekend and his buddy spent the night at ours on another. The little man is growing up.

I still can’t get my mind wrapped around taking Max bi-lateral. I wish that I could snap my fingers and make it so :(  It is such a painful process for me. Anyway……..

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Welcome To Holland

Many of you have probably read this poem, but I was speaking with a nice young lady today and could not remember the name of it. Anyway, here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Welcome To Holland


Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

* * *

©1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of the author.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A new school year.....

And so it begins…..

I can’t believe that Max is a second grader this year. I vividly remember Mrs. Wilson and my second grade year. Am I really this dang old? I guess I am. At least having an 8 year old son allows me to pretend like I am young again. Max has recently taken up skateboarding, which has allowed me dabble in BMX. Max is brave and tries new tricks all the time. I am not so brave. So far, I just go up the ramp and down the ramp. Very little air can be seen between my tires and the ground. 38 year old bones break more easily than 8 year old bones, or so I hear. I’ll try to get some video up of Max skateboarding soon. It’s cool to see him learning to do new things (just like any other kid). Oh yeah, I’ll try to get some pictures of his new board up as well. It was the envy of the skate park last Sunday! Oh yeah. I forgot to mention that Max earned his yellow belt at Elite Martial Arts a couple of weeks ago. I’ll post some pictures, along with a video of him breaking a wooden board. (By the way, I know Max will do a great job and put 110% in to this school year!)

Claire has a new teacher in her pre-school program at Mama Leer Hearing School this semester. Her name is Ms. Kelley. We will miss Ms. Katie, but I’m sure that Kelly will do an excellent job with Claire as well. Claire is coming along nicely with her speech. She is perfectly capable of using complete sentences when she “wants to”. She still has a bad habit of using jargon. I hope that she grows out of that habit this year. Thankfully, she will be able to attend Mama Leer next year for kindergarten as well. That will give her two more years of development before attending a “main stream” school (hopefully David Lipscomb). I’m drawing a blank on any funny new things that Claire is doing. She has become quite the chatterbox on our rides home from school. She wants either Max or me to constantly engage with her on these trips. Since both of us are tired from a long day, I’m not sure that we always do a great job. Max typically plays along for 5-10 minutes and then gets annoyed. He just wants to rest his brain after a long day of listening. We all love Claire. She rules the Hawkins household (at least she thinks she does).

On a side note, I am frustrated with Max’s FM situation. We have been trying to get the stupid thing fixed for over a year, with no success. I think that the problem has finally been diagnosed and we will be able to use it again soon (even though Max doesn’t want to).

There is no new news to report on Max going bi-lateral. Guess we need to pray about it more. Couldn’t hurt. Right?


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Dog Days Of Summer......

It’s been a while. I guess nothing really new and exciting has happened in the life of the Hawkins family lately. We just spend most of our time being busy and attempting to get by like everyone else. I think a nice trip out to the Advanced Bionics headquarters in California would break up the monotony nicely!

Let’s see… So far this summer, Max has attended Vanderbilt University’s soccer camp (where he received camper of the week, 2 years running!), Lipscomb University’s baseball camp and has started training in Mixed Martial Arts. He will also attend Lipscomb’s soccer camp next week. I believe in keeping his summers busy. Too many video games and too much TV make kids mushy!! Oh yeah. Max turned 8 a few weeks ago. We installed a new basketball goal in our back yard to celebrate.

We still have not made a decision on a second implant for Max. I go back and forth. It’s easy for me to mentor others and push other families toward multiple implants, but when it comes down to my kid (who is doing very well with one) it’s much tougher. I won’t bore you with the emotions again, but the decision making process sucks. (pardon my French)….

Claire has been attending Mama Leer Hearing School at Vanderbilt University all summer. She continued with Ms. Katie for the first session and has since moved on to Ms. Kelley. THANK YOU KATIE FOR ALL THAT YOU DID FOR CLAIRE!!! There is a special place in heaven for teachers like you! Oh. Alicia! I don’t want to leave you out. You have really helped us turn baby Claire in to a little lady. Thanks for all you do.

Claire’s vocabulary continues to grow and she can even use it when she wants to. It’s the “want to” that seems to be her problem. She is much to content with using “jargon” most of the time. I know she does it because jargon is easier than concentrating on using her real words. Stubborn girl! Kudos to my wife Stephanie for working in therapy with her busy schedule. I think she is probably the best mom ever!

I’m trying to think of something funny that Claire did lately….. Hmmm…. Oh yeah! She now bites Bruno The Dog on his ear whenever she feels like torturing him! That poor dog. He really takes a beating from Claire (not literally). They have such a love/hate relationship.

As I may have mentioned before, Steph and I are both training for a ½ marathon in California which takes place Halloween weekend. Whish me luck. If you want to check out the race website, it is . I that there is a link to my running blog on this site, if you get really bored. See ya!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Family Update

Another school year has come and gone. Crazy. I turned 38, Max will soon be 8 and Claire is now 4 (I won’t mention Steph’s age.). That looks really strange to me when I see it written down.

Anyway…. I though that I would take a minute and update everyone on our family. Let’s go youngest to oldest.

Claire – Oh Claire. Claire, Claire, Claire, Claire, Claire Claire. This girl is something else. She has really humbled me as a parent. I love her more than words can express, but she is going through some serious “stinker” issues right now. I’m almost positive that some of these behavioral issues stem from hearing loss and her frustration with communicating, but that’s not all of it. We were at Blackstone after the Country Music ½ Marathon a few weeks ago, waiting for our food, and what did I see? I saw a spitball flying at my head! I looked at Max. Nope. I looked at Stephanie. Nope. I looked at Claire. Yes! Claire was the assailant. Where in the heck did a 4 year old learn to shoot spit wads from a straw? One night this week, I was trying to get Claire in bed and she was not cooperating. At some point during my effort to get her in bed, she became very angry with me. Unfortunately she had a glass of water in her hand. What did she do with the water? She threw it right at me. Drenched me. Have you ever had the urge to laugh when you were furious? I did. Claire also likes to put me in “time out” and give me the old stick out your tongue/spitting routine. Oh. She also likes to pick Bruno the dog up by his hind legs and carry him around. Fun for Bruno. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade Claire in for any other little girl in the whole world. I don’t know what I would do without her. I just don’t know what to do with her either!

PS – I forgot to mention that she placed all of her loose change in the disc slot on the Wii. Yep. $85 repair…

I continue to be concerned about her expressive language and social skills. She attends a wonderful auditory oral school (as you probably know). I’m just at a loss on what else to do, short of hiring a full time Auditory Verbal therapist to live at our house. Man. That would be nice!

Max – I read an interesting quote this morning. “Show me a kid involved in too many extra curricular activities, and I will show you a miserable parent.” I hope that I am not stepping in to this trap with Max. I love coaching his baseball team and our tournament begins this weekend. (Max is playing great by the way.) I also just signed him up for Mixed Martial Arts School at Elite Martial Arts in Brentwood. He is signed up for two soccer camps and a baseball camp this summer as well. I know that sounds like a lot, but I refuse to let him sit around the house and play video games all summer. The camps are spread out and Martial Arts does not start until we finish baseball. Am I crazy? Nah. As long as it is one sport at a time, I think we are OK.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Max is doing well in school and will graduate to second grade this fall. I pray that the Lord provides Max with a wonderful second grade teacher. He has blessed Max so far in that aspect. I’m still waiting for a sign on Max’s second implant. I received some good input from one of our family friends, but I don’t know if that is my sign. The input was appreciated none the less. I know the second implant would help Max. I just can’t get over the idea of putting my beautiful, happy, robust, loving baby boy (almost 8) under the knife again. I get teared up just thinking about it. Sorry. I know I whine about this all the time.

Steph – Perfection :) - Just kidding. She is well, but I don’t like to speak for her.

Me – I’m struggling a bit right now to be honest. Being a good father, husband, employee and disciple all at the same time is not happening at the moment. I’ll keep plugging away though. I’ve got too great of a family and am blessed way too much to stay bogged down for long.

On a positive note, I am exercising again. I am training for the Riverbend 10K in Chattanooga on June 19th and will eventually train for the Healdsburg Wine Country ½ Marathon on Halloween. Accomplishing these goals is imperative for my self esteem. Please pray that I stay injury free.

I’m also enjoying a couple of good sermon series via the internet. Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN has a good one going on Genesis and Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN has a good one going on the book of Daniel. Check them out. If you are like me, a good teacher can truly enhance your understanding of the Bible.

Check out our Mentor page on the Advanced Bionics web site if you have any cochlear implant questions.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


I just wanted to take a minute to share my thoughts on Max. Steph and I are currently trying to decide whether or not Max needs a second implant. He is doing really well in school, but I see his hearing struggles on a daily basis. It is almost impossible for him to hear in a noisy situation, such as the lunchroom at school, or in the car with the windows rolled down. Is it worth the low percentage risk of surgery to get him the second implant? Will he be happy that we did this for him in the long run, or will he be mad that he has to deal with the extra hardware? I wish that I could snap my fingers and presto chango, Max instantly has a second implant. Unfortunately, life just doesn't work that way, especially in the Hawkins household. I don't know what we'll do. Max's surgeon is so confident and seems to have Max's best interests at heart (he has a disabled child as well). I don't know. I just don't know. I asked God for an obvious sign for me to say yes or no, but I haven't seen it yet. Maybe I haven't prayed hard enough. I don't know.