So I somehow forgot to mention when I went on maternity leave and promised to post on Thursdays that I meant I would start this Thursday, since I was on vacation last week. Sorry 'bout that. I will shamelessly blame the baby and sleep deprivation again.
We spent much of last week visiting family near Boston, which was lovely - the transition with K. and C. really took it out of us. I'm not a high-stress person, I tend to be pretty relaxed, but we really needed a break after two very hectic weeks and a lot of emotion. Among other things, we had sent K. and C. home two days before the movie theater shooting to Aurora, CO - just a few blocks from the movie theater where the shooting happened. You can imagine the frantic phone calls that Friday morning after we read the news. Fortunately, everyone is ok - but that only added to the stress of losing children who had become part of our family. I've rarely been as tired - physically and emotionally - as I was by the time we hit the road last week.
This transition was also the hardest one on my boys - K. and C. had truly become their brothers in the three months they spent together. The six of them proudly built their own obstacle course, made sets for their own productions of various shows and musicals, built things and explored the woods together. Something is missing without them - and while my sons are happy that they have gone to their loving family and things are as they should be, it takes time to reconstitute as a family after any loss. None of us wish we didn't love and lose, but it is a part of the process to grieve the losses as they occur.
So it was lovely to take off and visit my parents, drink wine, play with my nieces, take the boys to the ocean (they had never seen the sea at deep low tide before - the ocean in all its vicissitudes was so much a part of my childhood that I forget it isn't part of theirs), do some thrift shopping, hang out with friends, etc.... I've rarely so desperately needed a vacation and some down time. All of us came home happier and rested. My wonderful mother even took the baby for one night so that both Eric and I could have the luxury of sleeping a full night - bliss!
I arrived home to find two boxes of _Making Home_ waiting for me - yay! The book will be in stores by the end of the month, and is available for order here. It is always exciting to hold your book in your hand and realize "I did this!"
Much was put off in the couple of weeks that encompassed Baby Z's arrival and K. and C.'s departure - a barn cleaning, garden work, preserving, non-essential chores of all sorts, so we've come home to catch up. I'm not caught up yet, although I've got back my energy and optimism, and am starting to get things done (the skill set for getting things accomplished with a baby at hand is coming back to me).
Baby Z. is uncurling from the newborn lima bean stage into a baby. He's a sweetie pie who rarely complains, and is content to hang out and make cute noises at us as long as someone is cuddling him. (One night at midnight he was smiling and waving his hands at me and Eric looked at me in exhaustion and asked "what are you going to do?" My response "I guess I'm just going to have to let him coo it out." ) He still doesn't sleep at night, but then, he's not-quite-one-month, so I can't complain about it. The boys love him, especially Simon, who is a baby person. I'm using this opportunity to point up the advantages of being a young man with the skills to care for smaller children to him, and he's learning a host of baby skills (he was only 4 when Asher was born, and while we've had a couple of other babies during the last year of fostering, both were short term placements).
The boys are attending a wonderful camp program near us - Simon and Isaiah had taken a class on making stuffed animals there, that due to the unfortunate death of the instructor, turned into a class on patchwork and sewing. I doubt I could have gotten them to sign up for such a class, but they LOVED it - Isaiah is even talking about making sewing a career (not that this won't change a hundred times, since he's 8). The boys are wild for more sewing, and now Asher wants to learn, and I am doing everything I can to encourage this state of affairs. Apparently their sewing circle included the practice of making up rude and humorous songs of the sort that appeal to 8-10 year olds - I wonder if more youth sewing circles will exist if this spreads? ;-).
We picked 34lbs of blackberries yesterday in the heat, and have already turned them to jam. I've got tomatoes ready to go next, herbs in the drying room, summer squash being frozen. We're trying to get the house cleaned out for our annual recertification as foster parents, and now that we've had some desperately needed rain, I'm going to have to get some fall crops in (the earlier attempts all died horribly in the heat). I miss K. and C. a lot, but they are safe and well at home and I'm starting to hope for the phone to ring again and bring us a new placement. There is blackberry cobbler in the freezer and jambalaya for the day when we are too busy settling new children in to cook.
And that's the news from here. In honor of the new book, I will give away 2 free copies - so sign up in comments if you are interested, and I'll get the boys to pick names out of a hat! Winners get a signed copy of _Making Home_ free from me!
How are things for you all?
I would love to win a signed copy of your book -- please enter my name in your drawing!!! :)
I rarely comment, but always follow your blog with great interest...
I'd like a book!
LOLing at the sewing circle with rude songs.
I have been reading your blog(s) for years now. We have changed dramatically thanks to your guidance. I rarely comment, but thank you for your tutelage and inspiration over the years. I devoured your other books and would love to have my name in your drawing.
I've been a long time reader of your blog and would love to add Making Home to our shelves along with your other books!
I took your class on adapting in place and learned so much. Although I don't comment much, I look forward to each posting and have changed much in my life. The book would reenforce everything I've learned.
I'd love to have a copy!
Hi Sharon -- like so many others, I rarely comment but always enjoy reading your posts. I would love a signed copy of the latest book, and will even donate it to my local library after I'm done reading it!
So love reading your blog - helps to keep me inspired, especially helpfull when you feel like you're alone in your efforts. Never ever want to give in to the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" scenario. Thanks!
Please enter me in your book draw, and thanks for your many thoughtful posts.
Please sign me up for a copy. Loved Depletion & Abundance.
I would love a copy of your book.
Hi Sharon, I too would love a copy of the book.
PS - I forgot to mention that the Maine Public Library system has all three of your earlier books! Hurray for Maine!
I would love a copy of your book. You have inspired many lifestyle changes around here, and I am currently working toward a goal of "helping my neighbors grow more of their own food" because of you!
Commenting! The new book looks so interesting! Thanks for the opportunity!
Wow, Sharon, reminds me of the days when I had 8+ kids underfoot. Sounds like you are doing well. Yay for your book. I am enjoying the AIP class as well.
Wow, I'm out of breath just reading this! Throw my name in the hat for the book-- I'm looking forward to reading it!
I am another one who has read your posts for years, but rarely comment! I'll buy the book if I don't win it so no worries.
I've been waiting for your new book - please sign me up for the drawing! I'm looking forward to reading it, we are so undecided on so many things and I hope it helps us sort it all out.
I'd gladly sign up to win. As a fellow writer, I was going to say book delivery day is the best, but I suppose compared to the new baby animals--and young humans--that are regular additions to your life, the arrival of boxes of books, though thrilling in its own right, is a lesser, and certainly quieter, kind of excitement.
I would like a book! Thanks!
Please enter me in your book draw. Thanks for many years of wonderful and thought-provoking work; my mother and I have read your blog since 2006, and we've happily devoured all your previous posts and books.
I would love a copy of your new book! I just purchased _Independence Days_ from one of my favorite ever stores: Real Goods in Hopland, CA. Although I took your Adapting in Place class, and learned/implemented a bunch, I love having the book too!
I loved the part about the sewing class. I think kids like doing things if we just give them a chance.
Please put me in the drawing.
Would love to have my name in the hat for the book.
Add me to the list for the book!
Please sign me up for the drawing. I'm a long time blog reader and have all your other books.
I too would love a copy of your book - they've been wonderful so far, and it would be great to have a copy of the new one.
I would love a copy of the book!
I'd also love your take on how best to freeze summer squash, since my library contains suggestions ranging from "don't" to "just grate it up!", and I don't make _that_ much zucchini bread in a year.
While I really wish that you could have a true break, I'm thrilled that you've decided to post occasionally. It's so wonderful to keep up with everything going on at your place!
I am constantly amazed at how much stuff you do. I would love a copy of the book.
I would love to win a copy of your new book. I'm in the midst of 4H fair performances (goats and alpacas) and 4H camp planning - completely avoiding home stuff with 4H! I need home inspiration :-)
Wow. I'm in constant awe of your ability. Thank goodness you got to have a well-deserved break.
I'd love a chance to win your new book! Thanks so much!
Glad you had a break! Thanks for holding the draw - I'd love to win a copy.
Our brand new Farmers Market Grand Opening is August 11...thanks for all your encouragement way back when this was just a glimmer. As a former foster mom who still hears from my "kids" from all over the country, I know well the love, loss and just the sheer joy of these kids. A copy of your book would be great, but will buy if not chosen.
The chance of winning a copy of your book?!...Yes please!
If i am one of the lucky ones, i am happy to off set the postal costs to the my-don't you-live-in-a-far-away-place, with a pair of lovely latvian mittens.
Googlelink to images to whet your appetite( http://www.google.com/search?q=latvian+mittens&hl=en&client=firefox-a&h…)
I never win, so i do hope you will forgive my crafty attempt at a bribe. Love your writing :-)
I never know quite what to say in comments, but yes, we'd appreciate a copy.
I too rarely comment but have been reading your blog for many years now and loved Depletion and Abundance and Independence Days. I'm in awe of your energy, we have just one toddler and I can barely keep on top of things! If you can stretch to posting this to the UK, we would love a copy of your book.
Sign me up, please!
Oooooh! Pick me, pick me! I am, as always inspired! I would love the book! And, on that note....I WILL get that kimchee made with those beautiful greens in my garden!!!!
I've had your book on pre-order since March and feel sad every time the estimated ship date moves. I'd love to win a copy instead.
Me, me, pick me! Glad things are settling down--at least for now!
I can't resist a good drawing! So excited about this book.
I would love a copy of the book, and promise to share with Glenna should my name be chosen.
Sounds like a couple of weeks on an emotional roller coaster, and good to be settling back into just life again (for as long as that ever lasts!). Happy jam making!
I would *love* a copy of your newest book! Still trying to make some changes here, and get folks to be aware of the possibilities of the future, but it's tough going. I figure anything I can do to change ME/us is better than nothing, though.
I'd love to win a copy of your book! I will buy it anyway, if I don't win. :)
Throw my name into the hat. I have devoured your other 3 books, and still refer to them weekly for inspiration and advice, which I have applied to our own urban homestead!
Me! Me! I was so excited to get the preorder e-mail yesterday! Can't wait to read this one.
You know I'll buy a copy if I don't win... have to have your books to pass along to others here!
Count me in the hat!
I'd love a copy of your new book. (Congratulations!)
Please put me in the hat too!
BTW, loved, loved, loved this post. I don't know how you get so much done, makes me feel like a slacker, but I loved it anyway.
I have shamelessly not read any of your other books but have a friend, Robyn, who is devoted to your books. Please put my name in the hat so I can see what all the fuss is about
Please put my name in the hat!
Sure, I'll put my name in the running! Thanks!
Living in very rural England has certainly gotten my head more wrapped round a sustainable lifestyle. The community I'm living in has three cows, three hives of bees, a bazillion chickens (okay, probably around 30), three ewes and three lambs, veg gardens and a polytunnel. And a small, newish orchard and small fruits patch. Foraging opportunities are excellent as well. Also, we've got our own well with a spring down at the bottom of a field. Could this be home? Possibly and, just in case, I'd love to be considered for a copy of _Making Home_.
I've already pre-ordered a copy for myself, but I would LOVE another copy to gift to a friend.
Oooh, I'd love a copy of your newest book!
I'd like to enter for a copy, thanks!
I'd love a copy of your book. Thank you for running the draw!
Can I double my chances of winning your book by putting my name on both websites? :)
Pick me! I love your other books, can't wait to read this one.
I would love a signed copy! So many people around here I can share your great ideas with.
Pick me, pick me (I'll pay for postage!)
When I see all that you accomplish, I realize that I have NO excuses. I'm glad you finally got a nice break to relax a bit. Please put my name in the hat....thanks!
oh, me, too!
put me in the box for the drawing!
I would dearly love a book Sharon. I also added my name on the FB AIP page so don't count me twice. :)
Would love to win free copy of your book...the rest of your books are,currently, all home...they seem to get borrowed alot!
In my small pals personal blogs they may have applied all of us on their own web site moves, however , mine at all times is located at the bottom in the report as well as doesn't report once i write-up as it should folks. Is mtss is a setting up i always want to improve or is mtss is a option that they've developed?
I remember those baby days. I miss them and then I remember how hard it was to get anything done!
I'd love to win your book if the offer stretches overseas- I'm currently rereading Independence Days.
Excited to read your new book (hope I win!) I enjoyed Depletion and Abundance, but it's the only book of yours my library had. I will have to start harassing them to acquire more.
If I win a book I'll be getting a copy to give, too.
Thank you for all your work, Sharon... and sending my good thoughts to all your boys (including Z and K and C and the others who have passed through your home and heart to gather strength for the way to other homes and hearts and futures).
I've bought your other books, and would love to read this one as well. Actually, I'll read it whether or not I get a free copy, but hey.
Please add my name to the hat too.
I am sitting here with my two-week old daughter sleeping on me, hoping to be able to read the new book soon!
Would love to have a copy of your new book! I have your other ones and love them!
Congratualtions on the book printing, Sharon! ooooh, I'd love a signed copy. please throw my name in the hat!
I have read your blog for years and would be so honored if your boys happen to chooses me for your wonderful book!!!!! Thanks for doing this.
I never tire of hearing the adventures of you and your family! I always get such a tickle out of their new fascinations and bold announcements. P.S., boys, pick me! tee hee
Bunt to the Whee!!!!
Please enter my name in the hat. Would love a copy of your book.
Plz put my name in the hat. Thnx you.
sharon please put my name in your hat.
I would love to win a copy. Your blog is very inspiring (and, occasionally, depressing ). But I'm glad you're allowing yourself a little extra breathing room this summer.
Long time reader, first time commenter would love a copy of your latest book, :)
Like many others I am a faithful reader but hardly ever comment. I do however love to read others comments. It helps not to feel alone in this nutty world of ours! I would love to have a copy of your new book. Thanks!
Please put me in the running for the book, if it's not too late. I've read your others, and have been anticipating this for some time now. No worries, if I don't win, I will buy it.
Hello, would love to be in the draw for the new book please, also overseas (also UK).
Just got back from a few days with friends in rural setting, and finding all the traffic noise a bit much here in the city. Community food project is coming on. Lots of seedlings in trays for autumn planting; it's a bad year here for horticulture in many ways, so in a way we are in as good a place as many even though we only got the field ploughed last month. Planning a season of vegetable crops through autumn and winter using the notes I made from your Fall Gardening course and the Eliot Coleman textbooks.
This month's task is getting a kitchen fitted, in our converted shipping container space, as we are doing "grow and cook and eat" activities with local folks.