I started out the month by completing the top (minus the border) of the Mystery Quilt that I've been working on since January.
We tried to keep some of the annual family traditions that we've done in the past even though Sophia is away at college. So, we went to Dairy Queen for a meal and dessert on Labor Day - the day before homeschooling began.
On the first day of 11th grade, Olivia requested pancakes for her special breakfast. In the bag are some gifts for the upcoming year.
I asked Sophia for a photo of her on the first day of classes at college. I was happy to see the photo she sent with her big smile...all ready for starting this next phase of her educational journey.
We continued to release butterflies throughout the month. At the beginning of September, there were still flowers on the butterfly bush. The butterflies loved the flowers and it seemed to give them the energy they needed before their flight to Mexico.
Sophia sent Olivia a package in the mail. She was SO excited to get a postcard with a message from Sophia on it, a box of Skittles, and a little stuffed lion keychain.
We loved releasing butterflies almost every day during September.
Sometimes we would release more than one butterfly a day which was exciting!
One of the highlights of the month for me was leading a group of volunteers from a local church in making about 20 shoe kits for Sole Hope. The kits are sent to Uganda where seamstresses and cobblers take the pattern pieces and make them into shoes for children who have jiggers.
We also created 20 health care kits that provide the supplies necessary for the children and families to do at-home care after they are treated for jiggers.
It makes me so happy to think that jeans that would have been discarded can be transformed into life-changing and - in some cases - life-saving shoes for children.
In early September, we had a visit from a black bear who bent one of our birdfeeder poles and smashed the birdfeeder to eat the birdseed.
I spotted a tiger salamander (also called a spotted salamander) on our driveway. These are Minnesota's most common salamander and they can grow up to ten inches long. They actually move quite quickly when they sense danger.
On the 10th of September, I took Sophia to the oral surgeon since she was having continued challenges with her wisdom teeth removal back in mid-June. Her face is still swollen due to persistent infection on both sides of her lower jaw. We enjoyed lunch together in the dining center at college.
Olivia and I had fun looking at the big costume head at the store. I liked this unicorn head. It seems super large on Olivia's petite frame.
Sophia had another follow-up appointment with the oral surgeon. This time after the procedure she needed to do an oral rinse. The antibiotics she's on cannot be mixed with any form of alcohol. It was very challenging finding a mouthwash that doesn't have alcohol in it, but Sophia found one!
On the 13th, we went for another visit. This one was a fun one because we played ping pong. None of us are great ping pong players, so the experience was one filled with lots of laughter. It was a great time together!
Olivia and I went to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. There was a beautiful display of marbled items and murals.
Olivia released the last butterfly in the middle of the month. We felt so happy that we raised and released close to 40 monarchs!
My sister, Olivia, and I went to a fall festival that we had not been to before. The Wildlife Science Center was there and we enjoyed seeing the screech owl.
We enjoyed a lunch served by the Lions.
Olivia chose a duck from the duck pond. She said that she had never done a duck pond before. I never realized that. So, it was fun to explain what to do to a 16 year old.
We watched firemen use equipment to take apart a car - showing what would happen in an extrication.
I took Olivia on her first Parade of Homes tour of a few homes. She made herself comfortable at one home.
She really liked the room with the large stuffed animals.
There were cute chairs to sit on while you watched t.v.
I loved seeing the monarchs on the flowers. They liked the black-eyed Susans.
On the 17th, my friend, Karen, from pottery class came to visit our horses. She had a friend visiting from out of town (Beth) so she and Marilyn came with Karen to see the animals and have lunch together.
Danny and Cooper really liked spending time with Karen.
Olivia and I took another leather crafting class. Olivia made a leather bowl and learned a new stitch.
I've been trying to get a lot done before my upcoming spinal surgery on October 10th. As I was resting, two of the dogs and two of the cats were resting with me.
Danny misses Sophia. He is sleeping in her bed, probably hoping she'll come home soon.
Olivia and I went to the Marine Art Fair. These little purses and backpacks are made by a Hmong craftsperson. Sophia has the blue cat as a little purse. We were surprised that there is a backpack too.
Danny got a new sweater to keep him warm.
One of the things I've been wanting to do is get rid of a lot of stuff in the barn and small shed that we no longer want or need. We also had some items outside - like woven wire, bent t-posts, and plastic garbage cans from the previous owners - that I wanted to have cleaned up before the winter. We filled about 3/8 of the truck (there were things in the truck already from a previous job). It felt so good to get all this out of the buildings and farm.
My sister and I went to a booya at a church in a nearby community. I used to take the girls there when they were little. Last year, Sophia and I went to the booya. This year, they had an apple dessert, roll, and coleslaw along with the soup. It was a hearty meal (it was both my breakfast and lunch).
My sister was a good sport and put her face in the cut-out drawing of the grandma with the pot of soup.
It was good to do some new things this month as well as continue doing some things that are family traditions. I think as we navigate through this year, we'll seek out other new experiences and activities which will help us create new memories. It will be a healthy way of helping us cope with the changes and transitions that are happening as our daughters are getting older.