July has been another month filled with opportunities for knowledge accumulation. My collection of things learned this month includes an eclectic assortment of obscure trivia, random realizations, and totally awesome findings. Let’s get to the list, shall we?

What I Learned in July 2015

Luke and his siblings (shown here with their dad) fit the birth order stereotypes to a T!
Luke and his siblings (shown here with their dad) fit the birth order stereotypes to a T!
  • Have you ever noticed that parents of babies are constantly swaying? I spend so much time bouncing and swaying while holding Charlie that I often catch myself gently rocking from side to side, even when he’s not in my arms. (I also find myself talking aloud to him, which can get awkward when I’m narrating my movements in public and I realize he’s not with me. . . but I digress.) Last week in church I was standing behind a row of other parents, ALL of whom were swaying. . . even those not holding their little ones! Good to learn that I’m not the only one who looks like she’s perpetually on a rocking ship!
  • Marriage is funny. . . And so is this podcast, and the recent realization I had about it: last month I was introduced to blogger Jessie Artigue through an episode of one of my favorite podcasts. I began following Jessie’s blog and listening to the hilarious podcast Jessie does with her husband, “Mr. Pepper.” Fast forward to two weeks ago, when a high school acquaintance posted a link on Facebook, inviting friends to check out the new podcast he was doing with his wife. . . I had a total lightbulb moment when I realized that Gerard (my friend) was talking about the same show that I had already been tuning in to for weeks! I can’t believe it took me so long to make that connection, especially after I realized that Luke went to college with Jessie and Gerard and could probably have helped me piece together the puzzle.

Marriage is Funny Podcast

  • I wrote recently about our current adventures in reading aloud with Charlie, and I was happy to see the significance of my efforts validated by this report from Scholastic. According to the study, reading aloud early and often is one of the key predictors that an older child will become a frequent reader. My favorite finding from the study was that the top reason children say they enjoy being read to is that it’s a special time with their parents.
A few books that simply didn't live up to the hype.
A few books that simply didn’t live up to the hype.
  • Something else I’m not alone in: disappointment over Amazon Prime Day. I had such high hopes, and it turned out to be a total bust. On the plus side, I didn’t spend any money! (I take that back: I did purchase a discounted subscription to the Kindle Unlimited Program, but I asked for—and received—a refund when I realized that there are very few titles included in the program that I actually would want to read.)
  • I learned a lot from this infographic about the world’s most spoken languages, which (predictably) shows Chinese as the most widely spoken language of the world’s 7,102 known languages. I was intrigued to see French as the second most learned language, with 82 million learners across the globe (compared with 1.5 billion English learners).

World's Most Spoken Languages

  • When it comes to grocery shopping, I’m a sucker for bargains and almost always opt for generic brands. Normally, I don’t notice much of a difference between name brands and their generic counterparts, but there are always exceptions to the rule. This month I discovered that cottage cheese is one item that necessitates splurging on the “real” stuff. I’d had a bad experience with store-brand cottage cheese last year, but I attributed this aversion to the fact that I was pregnant at the time and almost everything tasted horrible. I temporarily switched to buying Knudsen, but on a recent trip to the grocery store, my penny-pinching ways kicked back in and I decided to give the generic stuff another try. Sadly, I quickly saw the error in my ways, and in the future I will be dishing out the extra money for cottage cheese that is actually edible.
Knudsen Cottage Cheese
I know a lot of people consider cottage cheese a savory food, but I prefer it sweetened up. Lately I’ve been combining my cottage cheese with fruity yogurt and summer berries. Delicious!
  • We all know that becoming a parent changes a person, but I am constantly learning that these changes manifest themselves in some pretty strange ways. Since giving birth—actually, since becoming pregnant—I have become much more sentimental and emotional. I’m sure a large part of this intensified sensitivity can be attributed to hormones, but I also think that just having a child causes me to see the world through different eyes. An example of this took place last week when Luke texted me from work with a picture of a baby lizard he was trying to rescue: the poor little guy was stuck to the sticky surface of a box and Luke couldn’t manage to get him free. I actually hate reptiles, and normally I would have been ambivalent to this story—even repulsed by it—but my mama’s heart was filled with compassion for the tiny baby lizard, and especially for his poor lizard mommy.
  • In a recent conversation with Luke’s dad, I learned that Luke is related to William the Conqueror and Grover Cleveland. How cool is it that these people are in Charlie’s lineage?! (Side Note. . . since learning this, I am convinced that if we ever have another boy, we NEED to name him Cleveland. It is a perfect sibling name to Charleston, and I love that we could use the nickname “Levi” (a personal favorite, but too popular for me to consider as a given name). Please tell me you agree this is a great idea, as Luke is going to take quite a bit of convincing on this one!)
William the Conqueror, Charlie, and Grover Cleveland: do you spot any resemblance?
William the Conqueror, Charlie, and Grover Cleveland: do you spot any resemblance?

What is something new you learned this month? I’d love to hear about it! If you’d like to read what some other bloggers have been learning this month, check out the the monthly link-up going on at Chatting at the Sky.

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