August has been the most action-packed month I’ve had since I was 13! I left home 4-6x every week and also ran 3x a week. While it was incredible that my body was able to keep up, I’m looking forward to September hopefully being a calmer month and being able to focus on my studies through Sophia Learning.
READING: Dad and I finished reading Pollyanna and then read Pollyanna Grows Up, both of which are written by Eleanor H. Porter. We are now reading The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. All three books are free in the public domain–just click on the names of the books. I also read some Polish fairy tales for reading club. Mom and I went to a butterfly release this month (pictures below) and bought a copy of The Family Butterfly Book by Rick Mikula, and we’ve been referencing it as we raise monarch butterflies. We met the author, and he signed our book. It’s a great book with a lot of tips that I didn’t know. I’m still reading Strong Like Water by Aundi Kolber. It is helping me process a lot of trauma, and I sometimes cry from reading it.
WATCHING: We’re raising monarch caterpillars, and I am watching them grow. I’ve also been watching video clips on YouTube from the Candid Camera TV show. I’m a prankster, so they really tickle my funny bone. Here’s one of an airport x-ray!
LEARNING: I’m making progress with driving, and this month my teacher taught me how to parallel park and had me drive the course for the driver's test at the DMV.
MAKING: I finished an oil painting of a racoon eating watermelon that I began in 2015 and used acrylics to paint a sunset over a beach. I entered both in the Westmoreland Fair, along with some crocheted items and a plastic canvas Easter basket. 5 out of 7 of my entries placed. I also finished crocheting an owl hat and a striped Christmas stocking and started crocheting another stocking. I like to crochet in the evenings while Dad reads aloud and while we have family time.
We also finished creating two butterfly gardens, and they were certified as official Monarch Waystations through Monarch Watch. Our waystations were part of our county's project to create 250 monarch waystations to celebrate our county’s 250th anniversary, and the cost of the sign and certification was covered by FirstEnergy and our county. One waystation is at our home, and the other is at our business. We named the waystation at home Betty Lou's Butterflies after my 93-year-old maternal grandma.
ENJOYING: My parents and I took a day trip to Lake Erie, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We found a beach with a strong tide, and we took our chairs to the water’s edge. It felt refreshing to feel the tide wash over our feet again and again. We also enjoyed touring Presque Isle Lighthouse and climbed 78 steps to reach the top. We brought our bikes and a kite, which was fun!
We also went swimming for the first time in 8 years this month at a local pool with a long waterslide!
LOVING: Three Carolina wrens hatched in a nest in our spider plant at the end of last month, and I loved checking the nest each day and watching them grow until they flew away. They were so cute!
DOING: Mom and I took a trip to see Grandma this month, and it was good to see her smiling face as always. My parents and I also went to a sunflower farm one Sunday after church.
EXERCISING: I’m still exercising a lot, and I’m enjoying running more. I’ve enjoyed it from day one from the standpoint of, “I’m so glad I can do this!” But now that my body has become more conditioned, it’s actually fun. The 5K was on the 26th, and I finished in 37:23 and placed 17th out of 25 runners in my division. There were over a thousand runners participating. The race started on the streets of Regent Square in Pittsburgh and ended in Frick Park where I was running up and down hills. The picture is of me right after I crossed the finish line. I was runner 466.
I also biked 8 miles on the Great Allegheny Passage Trail with my mom, and one evening we went to Oak Hollow Park for a walk with a friend. I was amused by the signs about flying disks there. I wasn't sure if I should expect an alien landing, but it turns out the signs were just for disk golf.
PLANNING: I took this month off from weaning off of Hydrocortisone, but I plan to begin tapering again next month. I will also be participating in a virtual 5K sometime between now and October 30th. The 5K is being hosted by the Lawndale Christian Health Center where my brother Ben is a medical resident. The proceeds are used to support their FitnessRx program, which provides free memberships for Lawndale Christian Health Center patients with a chronic illness. You can sign up here to run or walk the 5K, and if you live in the Chicago area, you can participate in person on Saturday, September 30th.
EATING: We’ve been eating fresh produce from farmers’ markets, and we also have begun drinking water kefir, which is rich in probiotics. After the 5K was over, I ate two free mini KIND bars with chocolate and almonds, and they were delicious!
WEARING: A neighbor gave me a gray jacket, which has been perfect to wear as the weather becomes cooler. I’ve also been wearing my fanny pack–it is great for when I’m walking or biking and need to carry more than my pockets can hold.
BUYING: I bought 12 large tubes of acrylic paint for 50¢ each at the thrift store! With a gift card, I also bought a kite that was 50% off at Target, and I bought some postcards at Lake Erie.