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It’s painful to reflect on the things we’ve taken for granted. For a majority of my first 22 years of life, I was a student—learning things was quite literally my job. And yet, I was so consumed with simply getting through school with the best possible grades that I failed to recognize how privileged I was to be able to spend my days consuming new information. It wasn’t until I had graduated from college that I began to appreciate learning for its own sake. Now, I feel like I can’t get enough! I spend hours chasing rabbit trails on Wikipedia, I enjoy journaling what I’m learning about myself and those around me, and I jump at the chance to take a new class or seminar. My results on the Strengths Finder test validated this passion, reminding me that an unquenchable search for knowledge is part of what makes me unique and should not only be accepted, but encouraged. I’m so thankful for this little corner of the internet, where I get to share some of what I learn each month with all of you! Here is a roundup of some of the lessons and fun facts that floated to the surface for me in the month of March.

What I Learned in March

  • Vaccines are a hot-button issue right now, and apparently it can all be traced back to some sick cows. In fact, the word “vaccine” comes from the Latin word for cow: vacca. During the 1700s, doctors realized that milkmaids who had been affected by cowpox (a milder form of smallpox that affects cows) were immune to smallpox. An English doctor began successfully inoculating people with cowpox, laying the foundation for our modern vaccinations against disease.
  • The average federal tax refund for 2013 was $2,689. Wow!
  • We had a dentist come to speak at my MOPS group this month, and one of the most surprising tidbits I learned was that bad breath in children can usually be attributed to seasonal allergies or other sinus and respiratory issues.
  • I knew that the baby-induced lack of sleep was getting to me, but I didn’t realize the extent to which it was taking its toll until I looked down at my feet one afternoon and realized I’d spent the entire morning in mismatched shoes.

Mismatched Shoes

  • I was so excited to learn that Target has free shipping on purchases over $25. It’s surprisingly difficult to run errands with a newborn, so this discovery is a game changer for me!
  • In looking through my pictures from this past month, I’ve realized how many pictures I have of Charlie and Luke, and how few I have of myself with Charlie. I guess that’s what happens when mom is the paparazzi in the family!
  • My perusal of pictures also revealed just how difficult it is to get a non-blurry picture of my squirrely two-month-old, not to mention how how impossible it’s proving to be to capture those elusive smiles with my iPhone!

Charlie's Smirk

  • Kelly Clarkson is working on a country album. It seems fairly common for artists to cross over from country to pop, but I can’t think of another performer who has crossed over in the opposite direction. I’m excited to see what she puts out!
  • The United States is the only country to write the date using the month/day/year format.
  • Speaking of dates, this year’s Pi Day (March 14, when the date corresponds to the numbers in the Greek letter π) was extra nerdy special, because the year itself aligned with the fourth and fifth digits of pi: March 14, 2015 —> 3/14/15 —> 3.1415. I hope you celebrated with a delicious slice of your favorite pie!
  • The U.S. flag is the third-oldest flag design still in use. The oldest flag design, that of Denmark, was adopted in 1625 and has origins dating back to 1219. The Austrian flag design is the second oldest, having first been used in the year 1230.

US, Denmark, and Austria Flags

  • Contrary to popular belief, Daylight Saving Time was not instituted to benefit farmers. The United States first observed Daylight Saving Time during World War I to conserve energy. When the first peacetime Daylight Saving Time was implemented in the 1960s, farmers had a powerful lobby and were strongly against the change because it meant they lost an hour of morning light and had to rush to get their crops to the market.
  • Studies show that there are actually four types of introverts: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. According to this test, I am a Thinking Introvert. “If your introversion is of the ‘thinking’ flavor, that means you enjoy analyzing yourself. You have a rich, complex inner life, and you often think about what kind of person you are.” Yep, that sounds like me.
  • Many cultures have their own version of the Cinderella story, but the oldest comes from Egypt. The partly-true story dates back to approximately 570 BC and involves a Greek slave girl who married the pharaoh. According to the legend, the slave girl had her shoe taken by a bird, and when the slipper was delivered to the pharaoh, he viewed it as a sign from the gods and searched throughout his kingdom to find the owner of the other slipper.
  • According to this article, my personality type (INFJ) is best suited to living in Paris, France. “Valuing privacy but feeling deeply engaged with the artistic community, INFJs find themselves blending nicely into the cosmopolitan streets of Paris. They are able to explore their interests in depth, engage with the history of the nation and keep to themselves as much or as little as they please.” Sounds good to me!
From my visit to Paris in 2008.
From my visit to Paris in 2008.
  • A British railroad company has a Teddy Rescue program that alerts riders to stuffed animals found on train lines. As a child who left her favorite doll in a Colorado hotel room at the age of 3, I can definitely appreciate a program like this! (Don’t worry; baby doll Kathy and I were eventually reunited.)
  • We took a CPR and first aid class this month, where I learned that the best way to remove a bee stinger is by scraping the surface of the skin with a credit card.
  • That class revealed to me how differently I view life now that I have a child of my own. I’ve taken CPR classes in the past and they felt strictly clinical; this time, I couldn’t help but imagine my own baby as I practiced CPR on the tiny mannequin, and it terrified me.
  • College-educated women today have their first child at 30.3 years old. I feel like a fairly old mom, having given birth to Charlie two months before my 31st birthday, but apparently I’m not too far behind the curve.

Charlie Newborn

I hope that March was a good “learning month” for you too! Leave a comment to let me know one thing you learned this month! And head over to Chatting at the Sky to read what other things bloggers learned in the month of March.

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