Hey Kim! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Name: Kimberly Lyn Haughee
Maiden Name: Kimberly Lyn Howell
I go by Kim though. The Lyn is from my mother’s name, Lynette. So even though Kimberly Lyn was a popular combination for names given to girls when I was born, the Lyn has significant meaning.
Age: 43 (Based on the longevity of my relatives I plan to have another 50 years of experiences.)
Where I am from: I am from Prosser, WA. I was born and raised there until I went to college. The graduating class was just around 100. My parents and the community provided many opportunities, which I was encouraged in. Tennis, basketball, cross-country, 4-H, FFA, annual staff, photography, and math club.
We lived on a small 10 acre farm just outside of town for most of my childhood. I enjoyed raising and selling dairy heifers for a 4-H project. The names of the heifers were Betsy, Joyce, Kate, Kaitlyn, and Kalairis. Living on the farm gave me the opportunity to be outside a great deal. Sometimes more than I wanted… helping with heating of the orchard at 3am and picking up pruned tree limbs. But most of the time I enjoyed the freedom and responsibilities of living on the farm and being the 2nd of 5 children.
My parents always encouraged us toward higher education. I pursued the field of mathematics education at the secondary level after having the opportunity to teach several high school classes while I was still in high school. My high school teacher seemed to frequently get assigned to jury duty during my junior year and used his upper level students as substitutes while he was gone. Of course, we had an official adult substitute in the classroom! One of these substitutes commented that I did a great job and should consider it as an occupation. While at university, I taught developmental mathematics courses and tutored for several years, confirming my comfort and interest in the field of mathematics education.
My parents did a great job of encouraging responsibility, independence, and commitment. Farming is not a financially consistent way of living. As such I remember upper elementary years of hand-me downs, reduced lunches, and free lunches if I cleaned dishes at lunch. I actually enjoyed working in the dish room, but relished being outside playing ‘chicken’ on the chicken bars.
Faith in God was instilled in me at a young age. I was raised in a Catholic family where we attended mass weekly, went to mass daily during lent, and CCD and confirmation classes. I am proud to have been baptized by my uncle Father Patrick Howell S.J. on Easter Sunday just weeks after being born. Yet in the later part of high school I struggled with decisions with friends and relationships. My faith in Christ was solidified during my freshman year at Central Washington University. From that point I knew God’s grace was what I needed and he mercifully continues providing daily.
Creating a family was a road unto itself. It’s a path I would not wish to travel again, but one that has made me much more open and understanding. The road included being a foster parent and several infertility treatments. As the result, I know the loss of certain dreams and children in my life. Well, there is plenty in that story I can’t get into now… but I am joyful for and wouldn’t trade the family I do have.
My children are Lily and Michael, ages 11 and 10. I firmly believe in supporting each of them as the unique individuals they are. They each have their gifts that they bring to our family. Both of them are great encouragers and supporters, I couldn’t ask for a better team to ‘have my back.’
You’re an amazing wife, mother, and math educator. Tell us about what keeps you passionate about your life.
I love to help others while balancing the need to care for myself. I truly need to keep a balance (I hope my kids are watching closely on this). I begin my day early by leaving the house at 5:15 to exercise at the YMCA. I have a goal of completing a triathlon next summer – it gives me a goal to work toward. Then I am at work by 6:30 where I help students pursue a change to their lives. This may look mundane to someone casually watching the actions each day (sending emails to online students, grading papers, communicating with advisees, attending meetings) but each task is completed with the focus of “making sure I am an encourager and assisting people throughout the day.” I love working at Helena College as a mathematics faculty and advisor for the elementary education option. It provides the opportunity to use my ability to communicate mathematics with visual and hands on perspectives and help students on the path of becoming elementary educators. Yes, Helena College has many wonderful offerings to the local community! Having a flexible work environment, which supports an early start time, gives me the opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening with Lily and Michael. I have the honor of hearing about their days as I pick them up from their various schools, helping them with homework, and chauffeuring them around.
As I wrote these responses, I had the opportunity to help one child with their daily hour long medical treatment in response to their special needs, listen to the other, clean dishes, and encourage each to have some unique down time. It is a nice treat to have my family count on me, share their days with me, and want to be around me.
What is your favorite time of day and why?
The afternoon. On school days I get to be with my children. On non-work days, it is the warmest time of the day. I LOVE being warm (others would call it hot). Growing up in Prosser, WA there were many days over 90 degrees and some weeks into the 100’s. Living next to the Yakima River meant time to be in the river or at the neighbor’s pool (trekking across the orchard and through the weeds was well worth the trip to the neighbor’s pool). I still like to mow the lawn, garden, and hike when it is warm.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
“Ask, ‘What happened to that person (today or in the past)?’ instead of ‘What is wrong with that person?’”
Tell us about a woman you admire.
I admire my late Grandma Howell. We saw her about every two years, but she was full of life. She had a quick smile, great whit, and loved to be with us. She could make anyone feel special.
What is a book we all need to read and why?
Okay… this is not a written book by any means, but read your life. Reflect on whom you’ve become and why. I can see now that wisdom comes to those as they age if they recognize it. They are the person they are today because of those whom supported them through encouragement, challenging words, and actions. Reflections on my life, year, month, or day help me be grateful for people in my life and help me reshape my mind to hopefully be more accepting and kind each day.
Describe your favorite meal.
A dinner date with my husband… ideal meal is duck or a wild game hen, rice pilaf, cheesecake with fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce, and a SMALL glass of red wine. More than 2 ounces of wine will put me to sleep.
Where would you most like to travel to, but have never been?
More parts of China. I have loved my three trips to China. I look forward to traveling again in the next year or two with my daughter. I am excited for her to experience her birth country.
How would your friends describe you?
I really don’t know. So I asked my daughter. She said, “kind, loving, supportive.” I truly hope that is how my friends view me.
What do you value most in a friendship?
For the friend and I to truly be transparent with one another and for us to remain friends even when we don’t see each other for months or years.
When do you most feel yourself?
Well, when I am relaxed. This means the pace for the day is being set by me and I am able to balance the requests of others but still have plenty of ‘me’ time. My ideal day is one when I get to be outside some, with family some, and accomplish a couple tasks for the day. I confess, I am a task driven person.
Coffee or tea?
Well, my endometriosis makes me feel noxious with caffeine. So definitely not coffee. Tea it is. I can’t do decaffeinated tea or most herbal teas as most have caffeine. But if I pick a tea, chamomile is a nice relaxing tea… no sugar and no cream.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Back to the no caffeine… I can’t do chocolate either. I would love to, but can’t. My favorite is actually birthday cake ice cream. I love to make sugar cookies out of cake mixes too. I could eat them all day!
Introvert or extrovert?
Rural or urban?
Rural… who wants all the traffic, shopping, and late dinners of city life?
Dress up or dress down?
Dress down. My friends need to accept me as I am. I will wear clothes that are comfortable. When it comes to a wedding or event needing nice clothes I struggle to find something appropriate in my closet.
Cats or dogs?
I love both. But living in the city limits of Helena I prefer cats. Growing up on a farm does not prepare one for having to walk a dog and pick up poop after a dog. But it does prepare one for cleaning barns and feed racks. I love my Siberian Forest cat, Clara, whom my husband is wonderfully not allergic to.
Sunrise or sunset?
Sunset. It is the end of the day, time to relax and enjoy.
Detailed or abstract?
Classic or modern?
More classic, but simple is more my motto. It takes me years to finally put a picture on a wall. I am content with very little decoration.
Call or text?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction if I get to relax and read for pleasure. Non-fiction if I am reading to help myself or help me understand someone else better.
Salty or Sweet?
How about both?
What do you love most about Montana?
The people. Long drives with little traffic.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Is there just one? Losing the relationship of our foster son as he returned to his father. Inability to conceive. Admitting my son needed more help than I could give him and getting him help in therapeutic treatment homes. Being taxed with the physical and mental health challenges my children have and being very real and raw with friends and acquaintances with the reality of home life with children from trauma.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
The patience and perspective of my husband.