Saturday, June 21, 2014


Dear Baby Waider + Little Brother Too,

I apologize. I know that my last blog post was May 3. This is probably the LONGEST I've ever gone without blogging. Wrapping school up + working a second job + having two kids = you don't blog too much. BUT, you still have mega fun and taking a BILLION pictures. So, I'm going to take awhile here to catch you up on as much as I possibly can. Hold on tight this is going to be a blast of fun and cuteness.

Mother's Day

I had the privilege of celebrating my third Mother's Day. Mother's Day is a funny thing to me. I've always honored my mom and grandmas on Mother's Day. I never actually pictured myself as a mother. It was the job I least expected to have. I worked with mothers on a daily basis (coworkers and mothers of the students who I taught). I often remember trying to get street cred with the moms I was surrounded by. I would say things like, "I'm the youngest of three. I get it. I grew up in a daycare. I know what you are talking about." I can only imagine what went through these probably all too polite women's heads as I would utter such ridiculousness. You can't prepare or train to be a mom. You can't even begin to fathom the overwhelming love/joy/panic/frustration/elation/terror/hilarity/exposure to poop/lack of sleep that your life becomes when you become a mom. It's the toughest job I've ever done. It makes me appreciate my mom (she had THREE of us in a short time!) and really all moms out there. I can't even go into my admiration for single moms. Dang. So Baby Waider, don't try to say that you know what's going on with moms because you have a younger brother and two younger cousins. You don't have a clue and you won't until you are there! Best job ever. Super tough. The end.

This Mother's Day the weather was awful. Cold, rainy, and windy. We went bowling. It was okay. Turns out that two year olds don't love waiting for their turn to bowl and there is plenty of dangerous stuff at a bowling ally for them to get into. Not to mention the fact that two year olds are probably the only ones who can mess with the computers that tally bowling scores. I can't get the machine to do anything. The machine hasn't been updated since 1989 but Baby Waider was messing with the machine every second she got. We ate at the bowling ally and the food was TERRIFIC. That evening we caught up on TV shows and spent a rainy evening inside. Baby Waider + Little Brother played and it was pretty much awesome.

Mother's Day highlights ~My favorite, Benny trying to eat Finn. 

Adorable Mother's Day shirts

Mom's Birthday

Mom's Birthday is not typically blog worthy, but this year we went to Old MacDonald's Farm. One of my favorite places to take the kids. There weren't pig races yet, which is totally disappointing, BUT there were a few events that stand out in my mind.

1. Everyone was entertained by the turkeys for what seemed like forever. Mom is TERRIFIED of birds, but I try to keep it in check so as to not pass this odd phobia onto my children. I did pretty well all things considered.

2. As everyone was trying to get into the train to take a ride a chicken FLEW out of one of the cars. Terrifying everyone. Turns out maybe it might not be me that passes on this weird bird fear.

3. Little Brother got to ride his first horse. He liked it.

4. Baby Waider was ATTACKED by goats and still likes them.

Overall the animals at OMF as I call it are aggressive, but for some reason we love going there.

Mom's birthday song. I think I may have picked the worst picture, but Finn is looking!

Shopping with Auntie

One of our favorite pass times, shopping,  actually used to be auntie and I's favorite past time before you were even born. Baby Waider and I have taken several shopping trips with Auntie for various reasons. Mostly we have fun. Auntie loves to buy Baby Waider eccentric accessories and fun outfits. We have a blast shopping with our girls and I imagine that as time goes on that the four of us will continue to have fun  finding bargains!

One time we got really brave and took all four kids shopping! We haven't done that since, but it really did go well. Also as I put this collage together I determined that Baby Waider seriously resembles Elton John.

Baby Waider has recently been very excited about dinosaurs so when the dinosaur show thingy came to town we really couldn't resist. It was basically robot dinosaurs that moved in place with lots of smoke and fake fire, but both Baby Waider and Little Brother loved it.

Obviously dad loved it too. Mom was pretty terrified of the number of children running around barefoot because of the bounce houses. There were shoes everywhere. Not cool.  

First Family of Four Camping Trip

Camping was a BIG deal to mom and dad before we had kids. We used to head out and hike and camp and have a blast. We started out tent camping. I made it a few times until I woke up one night in August. It was snowing, we were in the middle of the Snowy Mountains and I was FREEZING. I was shivering and started crying. That next morning I looked at these well rested happy people coming out of a camper and decided that the next time we went camping THAT'S what I would sleep in. Less than a year later we had our camper, which started a whole other series of adventures.

Here we are on the first trip we took with our camper. 
Glacier National Park. LOVE!

We went camping a few times with Baby Waider when she was little and took an epic trip to Missouri for Cousin Jennifer's wedding. That story is somewhere in this blog's archives. Anyway the first trip with two kids was much anticipated and to MY favorite campground the State Game Lodge. It went okay. I can't give it four stars. It rained. A LOT. Baby Waider struggled sleeping. A LOT. The first night we were there we had a pretty significant thunderstorm. Lots of wind and rain. Thankfully the hail was out before the storm reached us but it was a pretty big storm. We passed the time by reading stories as we all cuddle in bed. Not going to lie. That was basically heaven. Baby Waider and I read and snuggled. Dad and Little Brother read and snuggled. This lasted nearly an hour. We read a ton of books and giggled and hung out until the storm passed. Then another storm began. The battle for bedtime.

Dad is well intentioned. That being said he had this beautiful plan where he would put a toddler air mattress on the big bed in the camper and Baby Waider, Little Brother, and an adult would all sleep in the room of the fifth wheel while another adult would sleep in the dinette.He also got the most adorable Hello Kitty sleeping bag that my 9 year old self was completely jealous of. All in all not a bad plan. That would alleviate any problems of Baby Waider being afraid to sleep alone in the main part of the camper. Keep in mind that Baby Waider is used to sleeping alone. Baby Waider is also conditioned to sleep with a vast amount of toys. VAST AMOUNT. Too much and probably out of control. I volunteered to sleep in the dinette.

Baby Waider's bed at home. TOO MANY TOYS. 

11:01 "Daddy, you need a wipee? You want to hold my baby? Where my purse?"

11:15 "Daddy, where my cell phone? You play with me? Can we weed a stowey?"

11:20 Mom intervenes. Baby Waider is sleeping in the dinette.

11:30 Baby Waider seems stable.Toddler inflatable bed is gone. Hello Kitty Sleeping bag is being used appropriately.


12:05 Dad goes to sleep on the incredibly small and uncomfortable jack knife couch that will soon be replaced next to Baby Waider.

6:15 Little Brother wakes up. Entire family is groggy and grouchy. Talk of selling the camper. Dad goes back to bed.

7:00 Mom and children decide to go to Game Lodge to get coffee.

Yes he's crawling on concrete, in his pajamas, but everyone on the patio of the Game Lodge was hung over and I was feeling quite similar. The kids had a blast! 
Who says we needed a two child chariot? 

Always makes for a good outfit when Baby Waider chooses what she will wear. Here Baby Waider is teaching Little Brother his colors. It was all fun and games until he tried to eat the flower.

10:00 Harringtons notify us that they are coming to visit. We make a fresh pot of coffee.

11:00 Harringtons arrive we go to the playground.

11:05 Giant monsoon rains start.

11:15 We go for Pizza by Hermosa.

12:00 Take the LONG way back to camp. Kids sleep to nearly 4:00. Parents organize camper and relax a little. It is going to be okay.

4:30 Go for a walk and see the Webers! Great surprise and lots of fun walking with them.

After the first couple of rocky days Baby Waider was talked into sleeping in the dinette because Mia was going to camp out with her. It was brilliant. Baby Waider loved the idea of having a sleep over with Mia. Mia loved the idea of sleeping. All in all everyone slept the second night and it was all good!
Despite our less than perfect inaugural run we got some wonderful pictures which leads me to believe that deep down we had a really good time.

Notice the Hello Kitty pillow. So cool. 

The buffalo in the upper corner actually ran at a lady who was calling to him. Thankfully the lady was behind the fence. She really made the buffalo mad!

Ordinary Wonderful

Well, it is now way too late and I'm still not as far on my updates as I wanted to be. I still have MORE to blog about if you can believe it. Tomorrow I will finish that up. What I'm always disappointed in is the fact that my blogs always focus on the BIG events. Obviously I want to focus on the big things that happen, but this summer has been almost magical. It's just a fact that last summer was kind of a drag. Mom was growing Baby Brother (which by the way she did an awesome job of because he's flourishing and amazing) and had a kidney stone. Not only that, but dad had a broken leg. So I vowed that this summer would be great. I would not be tired and cranky the whole time. We would have FUN! And fun we have had. Dad has had to work much of June, but thanks to Auntie and Lauryn we've been on several fun outings to Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, the park, and many other places. We have a sweet little routine when we don't go places. We play outside, take naps, eat lunch, and play, play, play. I have to say that as mundane and routine as it sounds we are in a groove. I could get used to this stay at home mom thing! Baby Waider constantly makes me laugh and Little Brother is so sweet and cuddly. I have to say that as disastrous as I thought having 2 kids 23 months apart would be I couldn't have been more wrong. It is wonderful and more fun than words can express. Don't get me wrong. The two of you still cry at THE SAME TIME ALWAYS. You both always want to eat at the same time and having to change 4 poopy pants a day is just too much. BUT it really is wonderful. You are the best adventure that mom and dad have been on yet. I am so grateful it is just beginning. Now if we can just slow time down a bit.

Love Always,


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mama's Work

Dear Baby Waider + Little Brother Too, 

I occasionally blog about my job, but not too much. Truth is before the two of you came into my life my job WAS my life. I loved every single minute of it. I did plays, elaborate art projects, worked for after school events, partook in every. single. fundraiser. It was what I did. Once I met your dad he also took part in my job. ;) He would draw bulletin boards, make dvds of the plays, etc. We were immersed in the Meade School District. I adored my students and their families. I was extremely blessed to start teaching in a community who welcomed me with open arms into their lives and families. Getting hired in Whitewood was one of my life's greatest blessings. While working there I had small class sizes, amazing coworkers, and kids who felt like family. It was a great place to start out my career. My current position is also wonderful, but not the carefree place Whitewood was. Anyway, as a result of how much I loved teaching in Whitewood I continue to keep in touch with many former students from there. So last Saturday night I was fortunate enough to get to catch up with a couple. I ate dinner with a former student who informed me that when she graduates she's joining the navy. Following that dinner Grandma Halter, Baby Waider, and I went to prom grand march. I was ecstatic to see all my former students all grown up at prom. 

Sometimes it just hits you that time passes. So. Quickly. It's so cliche and overstated, but most likely because it is true. Last Saturday night it sort of smacked me in the face at an unexpected place. Someplace I wouldn't have seen myself 10 or 11 years ago probably. I was coming down the stairs in the Sturgis gym at grand march lugging a tired two and a half year old who was pointing at all the dresses and naming their colors. Not going to lie, the color naming of the dresses was pretty impressive. Looking back at me was probably 8 students who I had taught when they were ages 8-10. They were all gussied up for prom or watching someone who was at prom. I had taught them. When I was much younger. And they were much younger. Their moms and dads were there, looking a little older than I remember them and probably thinking the exact same thing about me. As I yelled at the "kids" to wait to pose for a picture with me it smacked me in the face. They had grown up before my very eyes. They are grown. And it happened so quickly. 

Saturday night was chaotic. Hugging people, quickly catching up, snapping pictures. Discussing our shock at how quickly time has past. Recognizing that students I taught are having children of their own and are well into adulthood. The quick hugs and greetings from parents were only a split second in my life. But it left a lasting impact on me. That's what life is. We meet people and even though they are in our life for only a moment they become a piece in the puzzle of our life.  As I watched one former student walk out very pregnant and ready to have her baby at any moment I shouted, "good luck!" I knew that before we knew it our kids would be at prom. Possibly together. 

As a side note. I was honored to be invited to that former student'a baby shower a few  weeks ago. I taught all three of these kids!! I love participating in any and all major life events. 

Teaching has a bad rap. I've been at it long enough to know that. The pay is not fantastic for the work we do. We see all sides of humanity, the good, bad, ugly. We watch tough things happen to little kids. But, overall I wouldn't change it for a thing. I've had the privilege to be a part of countless lives. That's awesome. For a whole year I get to have someone's treasure in my class.  I watch them grow. I hopefully teach them something and in some way be someone memorable to them. Selfishly I take each one of them and they become part of the fabric of my life. In many ways they become like family to me. In turn I become a piece of the puzzle that is their lives. 

So many coworkers and friends who are teachers shutter at the thought of their child becoming a teacher. We are not always well respected in the work that we do. I have a second job because the pay is just not that good. But bottom line is that we do good work. I am excited to go to work most everyday. If for no other reason than to just hear what sort of funny things that my second graders say. I get the chance to laugh, sing off key, dance, and hear about the lives of my students. As I left that hot, crowded gym, and a bunch of my former students all gussied up inside it dawned on me that I hope you both find a job that brings you as much joy as mine has for the past fourteen years. I've never had a day at work where I have failed to smile or laugh at least once. It probably helps that I work with auntie Katie and uncle Kelly. 

Do I wish I made more money? You bet. But for now I'll hope things get better for teachers in general and in the meantime I'll hope that both of you find work that makes you happy. 

Love Always, 


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eggstravagana (My First Photo-essay)

Dear Baby Waider + Little Brother Too, 

Excuse the cheesy title for this particular blog. I just feel like it fits and I like seasonal words combined with other words to make even better words. On with my first photo-essay. Mom is compulsive about pictures. This is no lie and impossible to hide anymore. I spend hours reading about how to be the best momtographer (another made up word that is awesome) I can possibly be. Recently I've been reading about creating a photo-essay. According to wikipedia it is "a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer." I was excited to experiment with the idea of this and dying Easter eggs seemed like an eggcellent opportunity to try it out. I envisioned lining up the perfect little glasses with the little color tabs that would create brilliant pictures as they reflected off of the table. I conned the family into cleaning up the house so that it didn't look like we were dying eggs in a swap shop. I thought for sure I would capture Baby Waider's stubby little fingers clutching the chintzy metal egg dropper, and Little Brother reaching for an egg with excitement in his eyes. As per usual my tiny subjects did not perform as I expected, my skills are not exactly what I want them to be, but I did capture what will be my photo-essay. 

Baby Waider begins dying eggs. This is what will be one of 10 pinkish-orangish eggs.

"See, Mama, it my blue egg!"

"No, Dad, MY blue egg." 

I guess I did sort of get my chintzy egg dropper photo. 

"Look, it's my 100th pinkish-orangish egg!"

More pink dye. 

Photo op with dad who says, and I quote, "This isn't about the kids. It's about us getting to finally get to be good at the things we used to do as kids." 

"Yay for my chintzy egg dropper!"

Photo op with mom and dad playing with focal points!

Now mom is in focus!

Not sure why Benny is so sad about his first Easter! Dad even made him his own egg!

There's a happy Benny. 

"It has been discovered that I have no more eggs to dye..."

"...and the ones that are dyed are all the same color..."

"...that is actually a pale version of the very onsie I am wearing!"

Then I asked if it would help if we took a picture with the eggs and we could send it to Grandpa Marker. She decided she could do that. 

Still has some tears rolling down the cheeks. 

Notice how they are all the same-ish color. 

The egg dying master...

I may not have captured what I hoped to capture, but this photo-essay definitely captured the moment (the whole 5 minutes) we took to break dye eggs. I am actually a little disappointed that I failed to capture the fact that we started with 24 eggs and ended up with 17, then 16, and now possibly 14ish??? Not sure if some of those are cracked beyond repair. Baby Waider would pick them up and THROW them into the dye. This would splash the dye all over and crack the egg. The eggs that survived this treatment were often dropped on the floor as they were being transferred to dry. Dad was trying to prevent this mass of egg dropping, but it did not prove to be successful. They kept falling and then the all too familiar, "UH-OH, DAD! I dropped it." This morning when Baby Waider woke up I could hear her talking on the monitor. She was saying, "No! Easter Bunny! Don't drop the eggs. My dad don't want you to drop the eggs, but my mom will make more." All in all everyone is pretty fired up about the Easter Bunny arriving tonight. We even had a chance to meet the big bunny himself today! Immediately when Baby Waider was put by the bunny she gave him a big hug and yelled, "Hi,Easter Bunny!" She posed for pictures and was all in all pretty pumped. She was pretty psyched that the Easter Bunny gave her a bouncy ball on a piece of elastic, or as Baby Waider called it, "A basketball on a string." She had the BEST time playing with it on the street corner. She could possibly be a street performer. We probably should have put out a cup to collect some $$ for her efforts. 

Hugging the Easter Bunny. I could have cropped this picture to get the box out. But why? 

Love Baby Waider's huge smile! 

Happy Hoppy Easter!

Baby Waider and her budding street performer career.

Love this beautiful weather and being with my adorable little family!