The Aswirl With Activity Edition: Second Serving Sunday

A weekly peek backwards and a look ahead, from my little corner of the blogosphere…

Are you ready for a Second Serving?

Life Stuff:

Last Week’s Edition: Peace Falling Like Leaves

  • This week came with the unexpected –  OnTuesday, the kids received a last-minute invite to a party at an indoor water park a little over an hour from home. Miah declined, but Lise wanted to attend – and none of her swimsuits fit after her recent growth spurt.
  • Wednesday afternoon, she and I visited four stores before finding one in her size that she liked. Sporting goods store FTW!
  • Because her brother didn’t attend, Lise was able to invite her friend Gabrielle, so we picked her up on the way. While the girls attended the party, Miah and I had lunch at Johnny Rockets, and spent some quality one on one time together before we all were reunited for the drive home. Both kids were asleep within an hour or two of getting home, so I also had some private time with my Accomplice.
  • The week also included a fair amount of cleaning and organizing – the continuation of our goal to declutter and prepare to move to Oregon in a year or two.
  • What didn’t happen as much as I’d hoped is writing-related activity. It’s hard for me to be both outwardly focused, and inwardly oriented, at the same time. I did write a few poems, and some blogposts, and did a bit of freewriting for next year’s A-Z. But plans to get caught up went awry in the swirl of activity…
  • Which did include both my weekly Sunday write-in with our local NaNoWriMo group, and a plotting workshop at a local library on Monday. So there was writing-related stuff, just not nearly as much as I’d hoped at the beginning of the week.
  • Sometimes, life takes precedence. And that’s OK.

With my nearly grown boy at The Great Escape Lodge and Waterpark,  yesterday.

Last week’s features:

ROW80:  The Writing Challenge That Knows You Have A Life.

  • Warmth and Gratitude: The first freeze, and my update, from within my cozy, happily active home.

  • Flurries of Gratitude: As the first flakes fall and the leaves swirl in brisk breezes, I find gratitude amidst the chaos of the unexpected.

Eight Sentence Sunday: The Blog Hop For Everyone Who Loves to Write!

  • Something Totally Unrelated”: T’Pol’s questions lead to an inspired volley and a questioning of the evidence…but the certainty that they must follow the Captain’s orders is what’s tripping up Trip.

Mindful Monday:  Because Self-Awareness is Vital to My Joyful Life.

  • I was apparently mindfully elsewhere on Monday, and didn’t post.

WIPpet Wednesday: Date-related WIP Snippets!

  • Being Bamboozled”: In the second snippet from The IDIC Romance‘s “Scavenger Hunt”,  Trip and T’Pol exchange a verbal volley regarding their performance of a days-off assignment that might or might not have been a game,  and Jon knows he’s being bamboozled – but the how is still a mystery.

Coffee and Conversation: Grab a cup of something refreshing, and let’s chat!

  • I had coffee and conversation, just not on my blog…

SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday): A weekly prompt to free the mind, and the words!

  • Where’s the Beef?”: An unexpected party brings an opportunity to spend some time with my fourteen-year-old – and a reflection on growing up.


OctPoWriMo: 31 poems in 31 days!

In the Wilds of Internet-Land: What Piqued My Interest This Week:

  • A Day of Fasting:  A lovely and meaningful poem that inspired my week’s activities.
  • Selfieish:  When women are so insecure about how they look that they leave little photographic record of their existence.

This week, on the blog:

  • #8sunday: More “Mission Accomplished” from that delicious inter-species duo, Trip and T’Pol. Will kissing trump sleuthing?
  • Mindful Monday: How much is enough? Is it time for a November hiatus?
  • ROW80 Updates: On Sunday and Wednesday, for the duration of the round.
  • WIPpet Wednesday: I’m serializing “Scavenger Hunt”, another #StaD story from The IDIC Romance, and the sequel to “Mission”. The nature of Vulcan questions, and the human correlation between movies and popcorn.
  • Coffee and Conversation: A potential schedule change, and a possible partial hiatus. And maybe more about bullying, as well.
  • Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS): A post based on the weekly prompt, TBA Friday. I’ll go wherever my wandering mind takes me.
  • OctPoWriMo: A month long exploration of and celebration of poetry. I intend to finish the month with 31 poems written and posted.

With Annalise and Gabrielle at the Great Escape. Notice the matching sharks they got at the arcade. =)

What’s Next:

  • I’ll keep moving toward my ROW80 and OctPoWriMo goals. This will include a bit of a ROW80 reset, to accommodate the end of the month, and a shift to NaNoWriMo and novel drafting.
  • 2015-16 homeschool paperwork, and a minor fix from last year’s reporting.

  • A few other matters need tending – loose ends from the last weeks. This week, I wrap up some of those projects in progress.

  • Halloween travel, and a doctor’s appointment for Lise.

That’s what I’ve been up to, and will be getting up to.

What about you?

Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

Any Second Servings to offer?

(Yes, I’m a little nosy. Writer thing.)

If you want to satisfy my perhaps inappropriate curiosity,

drop a line, a link, or an image into the rectangular receptacle below 

or just pass around the serving platter!

Seconds? No! I couldn’t even finish the firsts…

“Where’s the Beef?”for #SoCS

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: the word ‘beef’, used any way we like.

‘Tis right here…the beef, and a time of connection with a boy who will soon be grown…

Here’s the beef – in specific, a teriyaki pineapple burger I enjoyed earlier today, and the reason, in part, that I’m late with this post – see what I just did there? It means I’m tired, and my head aches, and I really want this post up by midnight, and that I’ve got only 23 minutes until that happens, and an elderly computer…

Maybe the beef got lost in a run-on sentence.

Maybe not.

Anyway, this beef was accompanied by friends – carmelized onion, pineapple, bell pepper, lettuce, and delicious sauce and nestled in a lovely bun, then a Johhny Rockets paper, and all that was cozied up to sweet potato fries.


I enjoyed it while lunching with my growing up boy, while my growing up girl splashed in the waterpark and feted her same -age, also growing up cousin.

And that’s where the beef was, what I did, and why I’m late, all in one!

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing?

Come join in – there’s just a few simple rules.

Check out the #SoCS hashtag, or click here!

“Past Middlenight”: Foul Deeds Will Rise on WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys! She’s our fearless shepherd…or something like that, anyway…

This week, I’m sharing more from Foul Deeds Will Rise, from an elderly and slow machine. Power adapters didn’t help, and the budget means further repairs or replacement need to wait a few weeks…

So, I’m sorry I’m late, and behind on comments and visits. I’m getting the hang of this machine, a little more every day…

Today, though, is a special day. My son, Jeremiah, turned fourteen years old – and I’m finding that somewhat surreal…

In honor of Miah’s special day, I offer you Vaara’s POV, as she settles into her role as Kai. I let him pick the project and character.

WIPpet Non- Math:

  • Today is September 2, 2015.
  • 14 sentences, for Jeremiah’s age.

“Past Middlenight…”

“…and the head of the Merchantwomens’ Guild, has thrice requested an audience with you, my Kai.”

Only when Visyl stopped speaking did Vaara begin to attend, and only the final phrase connected with any meaning in her mind. All that had gone before had been a seeming endless list of requests for audiences, matters of financing this or that project, the menus for the next moonsround, what entertainments would be offered in the Great Hall after…

“Arrange the audience, as you will Visyl. But not before dawning – I wish to run.”

“My Kai, it is well past middlenight. She will not now want to meet until afternooning.” Visyl smiled; she seemed never to be anything other than pleased, no matter what befell her, or how little Vaara attended her words.

“Past middlenight? Visyl, how can there still be so much left to tend to?” There was a stack of vellum pages in her lap, still – matters not yet discussed.

“It is the nature of being the Kai, my Kai.” Visyl’s smile never faded. “You are new to it, and all want to meet you, learn who you are, and in what way you might serve them – ”

Will Vaara learn how to be a proper Kai?

Will she be able to relax while running?

Is Visyl to be trusted?

I’ll be posting the next eight lines from this scene for #8sunday,  if you’d like to find out what’s next.

And for those looking for TnT fun, I offer you:

Yes, I’m playing along with the Story-a-Day September folks, because life wasn’t full enough (or because Trip vand T’Pol demanded it…they have things to share, apparently.) It’s not too late to join in!

Looking for more WIPpet Snippets, with chattier writers whose power adapters are A-OK? You can find those, or add your own date-related excerpt, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet to WIPpet!

And, now,  a song for my Montana-born boy!

Reflections on Fourteen… September 2, 2015

Round Three is all about reflection, for me: where I am, who I am, where I’d like to be, and who I’d like to be when I get there.

Today’s a big day at our house. I’m the mother of a fourteen year old. It’s the first birthday he’s bigger than me. By the looks of things, he might be taller than his six-foot father by his fifteenth, or maybe sooner!

September 4, 2001 – Two day old giant baby boy (and one nervous new mom)!

This boy is a minimalist. He wants a mini-fridge for his room, so he can keep drinks and snacks close to hand. My Accomplice ordered one on Amazon; it will be here tomorrow, and Miah and I will go shopping to get a start on stocking it.

He’s growing up fast, as kids do, and, today, I’m keenly aware of how deeply his dependent years are stacked, and how close his independent ones are. While he’s still here, and still needs his smaller-than-him-now Mom on a daily basis, I intend to enjoy – who he is Right Now, and the man he’s in the process of becoming.

September 2, 2014: Brand new silly teen!

September brings a few new goals, and the continuation or adaptation of others. I’m also adding weekly goals, which worked well for me during Ready. Set. WRITE!


October 2014, at Saratoga Apple Orchard.

Color-coding key:

  • Goal attained = blue with overstrike.

  • Goal in progress = green.

  • Goal-in-waiting = red.


  • Foul Deeds Will Rise: Trueborn Weft Series #2: The file in my cloud only carries me through August. Reread what I’ve written to this point, and decide whether I want to rewrite what’s missing, or set this aside until I have a more conducive computer situation. This week: Reread Scenes 1-10; no edits. Reread through Scene Eight.

  •  Story -A-Day September: Write one story for The IDIC Romance each day this month. Keep to 999 words or less; for fun. (just learned about this; Trip and T’Pol want me to play!). This week: One story each day, using the prompts, and freewriting. September 1 story written and posted (about 960 words; mildly edited.).


  • The IDIC Romance: Choose 2/3 paragraphs for each letter; do an 11:11 Stream of Consciousness sprint for each; these will be the basis for new stories and A-Z posts. This week: Letters A-F. A and B/2 each.

  • Watch Star Trek: Enterprise, Season Four, through S4E3: “Home”. 3 episodes; Firefly; 14 episodes; and Serenity (feature length movie). This week: Complete Enterprise episodes. Nothing new.


  • “Slow Jazz Awakening ” (from The IDIC Romance): Using compiled notes, draft rough revision plan for 16 scenes. This week: Download files; draft plan for Scenes 1-4. Relevant files downloaded; reread Scene One as written, without comments.

November 2014: SparkleFriday grin! Giving comes naturally to him!

Blogging/Social Media:

  • Regular features: publish all; scheduling ahead if possible; post one authorized reblog. All Story a Day stories posted to site blog. This week: 9 features; 5 StaD; eating meditation reblog. 1/9 features; 1/5 StaD.

  • Blog comments and visits: Get current retroactively through June 1. This week: Current through July 5. A few current comments/visits.

  • ROW80: Keep visits and updates current. Freewrite ideas and notes for Round 4 Sponsor Post. This week: Post updates; make visits. 11:11 brainstorming session for Round Four sponsor post. Sunday update posted a bit late; running behind on visits.

  • Empty email inbox. This week: get below 3333 messages. Be ruthless, if need be! Some messages deleted and read; count at 4200 plus.


  • Homeschool Administration: Complete all pending paperwork; including Fourth Quarter Reports. Submit Annalise’s test results to school district, submit Jeremiah’s Peer Review Panel Form. Draft IHIPs. This week: Proof Jeremiah’s report; prepare Peer Review and test scores; submit all. Downloaded Jeremiah’s report.
  • Decluttering/beautification: in home and/or yard, five days weekly. Continue making improvements to our home and our quality of life. This week: Clean/tidy study: sort one bag of ephermera; finish clearing round table and add tablecloth;begin cleaning in Annalise’s room; add three subcategories to each broad Oregon List category. Ephemera bag begun. 3/5 days.


  • August/September outings and events: Continue planning and attending. Take into account each child’s need for social time and hibernation – and the all-important budget. This week: Begin Jeremiah’s birthdaying! The birthday is here. Shopping for cake, ice cream, and stocking his new mini-fridge. Plans in progress as I type.

  • NNWM local group: Attend write-ins regularly, and check in on the Facebook and Twitter groups as inspired. Read and critique both projects I’ve been hanging onto. This week: locate and read the shorter crit. Checked in at FB and Twitter Sunday night.
  • Beta reads: Complete the 2 I’ve had waaay too long. This week: Send message regarding Beta One, which I couldn’t finish. 

  • My beloveds: One on one time with each, doing something of value to us both, several times each week. This week: Connect with My Accomplice; walks and podcasts with the girl; birthdaying (and possibly Firefly) with the boy. Connecting, podcasts, and walks, check.
  • Paying Forward: Read 1 fellow author book; complete 4 reviews. This week: Write three reviews, and post to Amazon.

February 2014: On the South Jetty in Florence, OR.


  •  Intentions journal/ #onegoodcup journal: six times each week. This week: Meet goal. 3/6 for each.
  • Meditation: Practice seven times weekly, including one eating meditation. Explore one new meditative practice. This week: meet goals; choose a new practice to explore. : 4/6 practices (mandala; t’ai chi walking).

  • T’ai chi practice: at home five times; class twice. Continue reading The Tai Chi Directory, and adding movements to my at-home practice. This week: Class once; three at-home practices; read and expand practice. At home: 3 / 5.

  • Physical activity:  six days a week; use phone app to track three time a week. This week: pars for both. 3/6 days, 1/3 with phone; Walking, hometending, t’ai chi. 

These goals are a part of Kait Nolan’s ROW80 Writing Challenge.

 Find more ROWers right here! 

One month ago, at Unschoolers Rock the Campground, Plymouth, MA.


Unschoolers Grow at the Campground: Coffee (Uh, Lemonade?) and Conversation

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own So settle into a comfy seat, and I’ll pour for you – today, I’m offering virtual lemonade in a glass pitcher glistening with condensation – can you hear the ice cubes clinking?

I meant to post a Coffee and Conversation – but I ran out of day before I ran out of things to do. That happens, sometimes, especially when I’m as scattered as I was through the majority of last week, once the exhaustion that resulted from the four wonderful days of Unschoolers Rock the Campground lifted.

Now, though, I’ve gotten some rest, some perspective, and some renewed focus, so it’s time to share what I meant to share last week.

We’ve been attending Unschoolers Rock for several years now, and, the year before we first traveled to Plymouth, the kids and I journeyed from our upstate New York home to the little corner of Pennsylvania known as York, where we camped with other unschoolers in a farm meadow.

So hard to believe that that’s my now-giant boy in the denim jacket!

Exploring a horse skeleton; that’s Annalise all the way on the right, in the pink. She is a lifelong lover of bones.

Annalise and Bethany in their Horse Tree.

Boys (Jeremiah,, Gabriel, and Josh) gaming – and a lot more toys than we camp with today!

There’s something about seeing my children in other settings – especially when the setting is the same, or nearly so, year after year. Watching them in another environment, and away from home, points up the growth and changes that have occurred since our last visit, and reveals skills and abilities I might not notice, in our everyday environment.

Exploring the Mayflower II, in 2010.

Living a life anchored in love and learning, and accompanied by a plush humpback whale….Plymouth, MA, 2010.

Siblings after a day of lake swimming!

Warrior on the Campground!

Gabrielle, Annalise and Alana enjoy their swim – and their friendship.

So here, in images, is a record of growth and change – the just-five and almost eight year olds who are now, after years of annual camping trips, now eleven and nearly fourteen (that’s still a little surreal to me, so excuse me while I gasp a little…

I’m glad I enjoy taking pictures, so that I have this visual record – of their growing up, of our changing reality, of what peaceful, non-coercive parenting can create…


Annalise was in love with this dolphin!


Hot tub construction in progress, 2011!

Independence in the water….

Making a splash!

Miah and friends…this was the summer he really became a strong swimmer.

In a culture where so very many children lead lives as scheduled as their parents – with school, homework, chores, and a plethora of enrichment activities – from athletics to camps to lessons in all manner of things, sometimes not even things chosen by the child themselves, but by parents or educators who believe these activities are more beneficial- I find it refreshing to look back at these images of the children in my life, who choose how to spend their time.

Dead-eye Burton,with his best friend, Harry. Photo by Adam Smith.

Bicycling Boy – the year he became campground-independent! Photo by Adam Smith.

It shows up clearly, in these sequential images, captured in random camping

moments throughout the years…

And, during the times when things get angsty, I hang onto these images, and the memory of the things that were our ‘hot spots’ in each of those seasons, and how most of them have faded into the past, reassuring me that today’s frictions likely will, too.

2014 – the first year she could swim alone to the floating dock – and then – chill!

His face was changing….and has kept right on doing that….

With his best friend Harry.

Enjoying the freedom and bliss of deeper waters!

She seemed suddenly very grown and capable….looking back, she’s much more grown today.

In the last weeks before he became a teen, there’s a clown in this big boy – and the type of soul who’ll let younger friends decorate him!

Yes, teens and preteens are still dealing with the messy process of growing up, even when they aren’t overburdened, and it would be a gross and unfair lie to say that every moment of every day was a thing of joy and wonder. But, as these images show, there’s a lot more good than not-good in our lives, and the growing is happening – naturally, and with beauty.

Gabrielle, Annalise, and Gabriella, this July….#swaggirls smiling, and growing up before our eyes….

Does your family have any treasured, yearly events by which you marked your own or your childrens’ growing up? Feel like sharing? Let me get you a fresh cool glass of lemonade, and you can tell us all about it!

Yes, that’s me in the middle – and that big blonde guy on the end? That’s my now bigger-than-me, looking more like a man every day son, weeks before he turns 14.

Something Needs to Change: Parenting With Intention for Mindful Monday, Part One

Hi there, and welcome to Mindful Monday! You can learn more about this weekly exploration of personal mindfulness, and access more mindful posts, at Silver Threading.

Some of the wisest pieces of parenting advice my Accomplice and I received, when we were expecting our first child fourteen years ago, came from our midwife, Stacey Haugland.

No matter how well you think you know who your baby will be, you can’t,” she told us. And this gem, as my pregnancy went day after day past my due date, in a sweltering, high-altitude Montana summer, “This is the easy part. Once that baby comes out of there, that’s when the real work gets started.”

A smart woman, Stacey.

Motherhood, the first days. Photo by James B. Burton.

I didn’t get nearly as many things right as I’d thought I would, back during his first years. I got swept away by mainstream parenting advice, the patterns and attitudes of my family of origin, my own ingrained or stubbornly held beliefs of what it meant to be a Good Mother.

And I patted myself on the back that my kids weren’t brats (Annalise joined our family when Jeremiah was not quite three years old), that I was firmly in control, that I knew how to Raise Good People.

We had Rules, and Logical Consequences, and a Naughty Step

And a LOT of conflict. I was the Enforcer. I watched for infractions, and I, in my own past words, would “come down on them like a ton of bricks” when either child ‘dared’ to commit them.

From the outside, we looked like a happy, loving family, and we were. People commented on how well-behaved the children were, and we laughed a lot –

But I also yelled. A lot. Hit, a lot more than I wanted to. Humiliated, demanded, punished – and congratulated myself that I wasn’t as severe as my own parents were, in raising me.

Parenthood comes with many moving parts….Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

One day, my husband came home, and found both children sitting on the Naughty Step, sobbing, while I screamed and raged at them.

He took one look, and called me a monster.

I was furious- my rage was easily shifted, in those days, and explosive. I turned on him.

But he was right.

The children I was lambasting for making messes and not cleaning them up were 3 and 6 years old, at most.

I wasn’t only being cruel – I was demanding the impossible – a level of attentiveness that neither of these very new humans was remotely able to meet. I was terrorizing them for their perfectly natural inability to comply.

Life in those days was filled with a seething resentment, a feeling of being trapped, of doling out punishments and demanding restitution – even when, more often than not, by the time we got to the end of the punishment, I couldn’t even remember what the punishment was for.

It wasn’t what we signed up for, when we decided to have a family.

I came to know, slowly but certainly, that something had to change.

I had to change.

I had no idea, how, at first- until I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to bring the kids on an outing with a local radical unschooling group. It was strongly suggested that new parents unfamiliar with this way of living read at Joyce Fetterol’s wonderful website, Joyfully Rejoycing, which was a comprehensive introduction to a very different way of parenting.

I remember reading the educational posts, and nodding along. Trust that children will learn, even without lessons, homework, tests, or other forms of educational coercion. We’d never sent the kids to school, and our homeschooling had already been evolving into a far more relaxed form than the lessons at the kitchen table we began with.

I knew kids could learn rampantly, if simply provided with lots of interesting things and experiences, and time and freedom to explore, because we lived it every day.

I was feeling pretty confident and sure of myself….

But then I read the ‘life’ side of Joyce’s page, and my chest got tight and my stomach a little sick. Don’t require chores, set bedtimes, limit foods and technology? Really?! Were these people CRAZY?!?!

Don’t PUNISH???!???!!?!?!

These people HAD to be crazy. Their houses must be an endless free-for-all, with exhausted parents forever cleaning up after and sacrificing themselves for ungrateful, lawless, hedonistic offspring…

No way we were ever going to go THAT far. Because that would be total anarchy, and we were NOT going to raise brats.

Dangerous Delinquents – or Just New People? Photo by Sha Jeniah Burton.

We went on the nature walk, and, during the course of spending the day with some happy families, I met four year old Lily. I’ll have a warm place in my heart for her, because she changed our lives – just in the confident way she spoke to me about her life, her family, and herself.

Lily met my eyes when she chatted with me. She didn’t pause to see if I approved of her or what she was saying. She had things to say, and she said them.

I wasn’t a “mom”, and she wasn’t a “kid”. We were two people interacting.

It was then that I knew that’s what I wanted for my own family, my own children.

But, in order to get it, I was going to have to do something that made me intensely uncomfortable; something that I had no idea how to do.

I was going to have to change.

I was going to have to shift my perspective.

I was going to have to grow…

Next Week, Part Two: Learning How to Change

Potent message, and my ideal….Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

Yellowstone and the Shape of Our Lives: #atozchallenge, Day 29

Has your life, or that of your family, been shaped by specific places?

As we near the end of the alphabet, I look back and see a long list of places and events that have sculpted not only my life, but also that of my family – even before our children were born, the lives my Accomplice and I lived as a couple built the foundation and structure of the life we live as a family…

In a very real sense, traveling has given us that family.

We were living at the Rocky Mountain Campground in Montana, just outside the famed North Gate of Yellowstone National Park, in 2000, a little over three years into married life, when we knew we were ready to seriously consider expanding our family beyond the array of furry companions we harbored (at the time, three cats and one large shaggy dog). We were both working in Mammoth Hot Springs, where my Accomplice oversaw training and operations of the nine Employee Dining Rooms throughout the park, and where I was a waitress at the restaurant, often with trainees of my own.

Roosevelt Arch , Gardiner, Montana. Photo by Jim Peaco, courtesy of YellowstoneNPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

All of my early appointments to deal with prenatal health and preparation were at the medical facilities there.

It was while visiting my family in New York, two days before we returned to Yellowstone, that we learned that we were going to have a baby.

Part of our agreement for working the winter season was that my Accomplice would return to his position to work the summer season, as well – and our baby was due August 13 – which meant that we’d become parents in close proximity to Yellowstone.

It was nearly an 80 mile (126 kilometer) to our midwife’s, through Craig’s Pass. In June, our appointment was canceled because there was a blizzard, and the pass was, well, impassable.

Uh, yeah. No midwife today. Craig’s Pass and the Continental Divide, snowbound. Photo by Jim Peaco, courtesy YellowstoneNPS, via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

It was a hot, dry summer, and we lived at 6000 feet above sea level. I was so uncomfortable, and, because we hoped for a homebirth, nervous that the baby wouldn’t wait till 36 weeks to be born – the legal point for midwife attended homebirth in Montana. There was no cause for the worry – my due date came and went, as I sweated and lugged my increasingly massive belly around with me, everywhere I went. I jokingly told my Accomplice that the weather would break the day we had the baby.

Throughout the pregnancy, we took pictures of my growing middle by Kepler Cascades.

Pregnant by Kepler Cascades, summer 2001.

Finally, we tried to naturally induce the baby – this was done at a cabin that welcomed homebirths, where there was live music, someone building a straw bale house, and a wildfire just a couple of mountains away. Our baby – stubborn, even before birth. Our child wouldn’t be coaxed out until good and ready, thanks all the same!

Finally, on September 2, Jeremiah finally made his appearance – by C-section, at a hospital. The best laid plans…

We brought him home on the 5th. He crossed his first state line that day, too, on his first day in a car, when we took him five miles up the mountain into Wyoming to meet the folks at his Daddy’s office, who had been eagerly awaiting his long-delayed arrival. It was so hot that day, we had him in just a diaper, once we got home. By the next morning, he was in fleece from head to toe- I had been right about the weather changing!

He toured Yellowstone’s Grand Loop at the ripe age of two weeks, because we had friends throughout the park to introduce him to, and because we knew that would be our last season. He nursed in the restaurants at Mammoth Hot Springs, the posh Lake Yellowstone Hotel, and our former home, the Old Faithful Inn.

Detail of the Theodore Roosevelt quote, Rooosevelt Arch, North Entrance, Gardiner, Montana. Photo by Jim Peaco, courtesy of YellowstoneNPS via Flickr.


We arrived at Yellowstone as newlyweds – and left as new parents. There will always be a special warmth in my heart for the place that saw us through that transition, and, even though our Montana boy, now 13.5 and taller than me, with an emerging man’s voice, hasn’t been there since he was five weeks old, he will always, in my mind, be tied to the place that was his first home. And someday, hopefully within the next couple of years, we will offer him the chance to reunite with the place of his birth.

This post is part of the #atozchallenge. For more Y yarns, click the banner.

Yellowstone embraced us during our transition to parenthood. Is there a place that did the same for you? Are you still there? If not, have you been back? Would you like to?