School may be out for the summer, but the learning is still going strong over here in my little corner of the world. In no particular order, here are some of the things—big and small—that I’ve learned this month.
- I had assumed the prevalence of real estate apps like Zillow and Trulia rendered real estate agents a dispensable commodity, but our home search in Arizona has been proving me wrong: using a real estate agent—even when just looking for a place to rent—might not be essential, but it certainly makes the process easier. We found a realtor we love, and I cannot begin to express how grateful I have been for his assistance in this crazy process of searching for homes out of state!
- I recently discovered that a friend of mine is a former member of the Secret Service, and this new revelation prompted me to read up on the agency. I was surprised to discover that when the Secret Service was established in 1865, its primary responsibility was to investigate and suppress the counterfitting of U.S. currency. The agency was actually a part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury until 2003, and though its primary function is now the protection of our nation’s president and other designated protectees, the Secret Service is still responsible for the investigation of financial crimes.
- I’ve never given much thought to our state flag, but this hilarious post on why “every state flag is wrong” made me recognize that, compared to some of the others (have you seen the flag for Virginia?!), California’s flag is actually pretty nice!
- Though there are a few things we can do to ward off mosquitos (eating garlic being one of them), genetics account for 85% of our attractiveness to these blood-sucking pests. I’m thankful we don’t live in a high-mosquito area because I tend to be quite the mosquito magnet.
- Our society certainly seems to be making the most of our camera phones (I know I sure do!): these days, humans take almost 1 trillion photos per year, which means we are taking more photos every few minutes than in the entire 19th century!
- This month I was honored to receive a spot on the Launch Team for Emily Freeman’s newest book. Part of my role on the team involves reading an Advanced Reader Copy of the book. It’s my first time reading a book before it’s been published, and I feel ridiculously excited by this privilege. However, most of my reading time these days comes when I’m holding and/or feeding Charlie, and I’m learning that it’s almost impossible to hold a baby AND a book, especially when I’m attempting to highlight and make notes as I read. It’s been quite a while since I attempted to read a physical book (as opposed to an audiobook or a book on my Kindle), and I’m coming to a much greater appreciation for those alternative book formats.
- Most of us are aware of the fact that a majority of marriages fail, but I was saddened to read the exact statistics, which are shockingly high: of all the people who get married, only three in ten remain in healthy, happy marriages. Science has shown that the primary predictor in a marriage’s satisfaction and stability is a spirit of kindness and generosity.
- At five months, Charlie is probably old enough to spend Sunday mornings in the church nursery, but
overprotectivefirst-time parents that we are, Luke and I just aren’t ready to take that step. However, after spending one too many sermons bouncing Charlie in the church lobby, I have given up on bringing him into the service with us. Our compromise has been to worship with Charlie in our church’s “Wiggle Room,” and we are learning what a fun place that room is on a Sunday morning! I enjoy the sense of camaraderie we feel with the other new parents, and the roaming toddlers provide an awesome—if distracting—source of entertainment!
- Iron deficiency affects nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide. A Canadian graduate student created a solution: he designed the Lucky Iron Fish, a small fish-shaped piece of iron that is placed inside a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. The fish imparts some iron into the water, which is then used to prepare soup or cook rice.
- I have a bit of a blogger crush on Ree Drummond (aka the Pioneer Woman), and love everything about her site. I particularly enjoy the educational posts, and this month’s “25 Idioms to Teach Your Kids During the Dog Days of Summer” was no exception. Charlie might be a tad too young to learn any idioms this summer, but I learned quite a few new ones myself from this post! One idiom I’d never heard before was “Do a Devon Loch,” which apparently means “to fail when one is very close to winning.” Perhaps this is a regional expression (?) because I’m certain I’ve never heard this one used in conversation.
- Last month I shared my slight obsession with emoji (especially the winky face), and a recent post from Buffer revealed that I am not alone: nearly fifty percent of Instagram captions and comments contain at least one emoji. Studies are showing that emojis can elicit the same brain activity that is activated when we look at a human face, so this heavy emoji use is actually enhancing our online communication.
- As a Myers Briggs INFJ, my literary doppelganger is Atticus Finch. He happens to be my favorite character from one of my favorite books, so this pleases me greatly. (Check out this post to learn the perfect summer reading for your Myers-Briggs personality type.)
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it takes $245,340 in food, housing, education and other costs to raise a kid. A recent study wanted to identify the additional “stress cost” of raising children. They found that, based on survey data from Australian moms, a new mother’s annual earnings would have to increase by as much as $66,000, or her husband’s earnings would have to increase by $163,000, to offset the time stress of being a new mom. These statistics make me sad; I agree that motherhood is stressful, but I think the benefits far outweigh the costs.
- Parenting has taught me a great deal about love and joy, but those beautiful lessons have also been accompanied by their fair share of heartbreak. Every single one of Charlie’s 165 days on this earth has been a painful lesson in my capacity for feelings of worry, guilt, and inadequacy. No other job or role in life has so clearly highlighted my (insane) desire for perfection and my inability to approach that elusive mark. Yesterday I hit a new low: while on a walk with Charlie in a baby wrap, I tripped on an unfinished sidewalk and fell baby-first. I took the brunt of the fall, but Charlie’s face got a bit scratched up. As I sat on the sidewalk soothing my startled and hurting baby, I experienced first-hand the anguish and pain of knowing I’d let my child down; I cannot imagine a worse feeling. I am thankful for the grace God extends to me when I fail in my role as a mother; I only wish I could learn to extend a bit more grace to myself.
- On a happier parenting note. . . from the moment I first laid eyes on Charlie, I’ve been insisting that he looks exactly like his dad, and a few weeks ago I downloaded an app that confirmed my suspicions. The pictures don’t lie, Charlie is truly his daddy’s mini-me. File this one under “confirmed” rather than “learned”—although I suppose this could also be considered a lesson in trusting my instincts!
What fun, hard, or simply bizarre things have you been learning lately? Share with me in the Comments, then head over to Chatting at the Sky to read what knowledge other bloggers accumulated in June.