• Raising Boys

  • In The Kitchen

  • Family Travels

A Look Back On 2018

2018 is over, and it has been a pretty marvelous, eventful, and interesting year. We did a lot and learned a lot, and I wanted to share some of my favorite new things at a glance. I will be talking more about those new things we were just beginning as we happily march into 2019!

Christmas 2018 picture with boys

What we did and learned in 2018

1. We started to read aloud every single day, and visit the library once a week. I was inspired by reading this book and listening to this book about the many, many benefits of reading aloud with children, including but not limited to improving their reading comprehension, vocabulary, standardized test scores, and most important of all, their overall adoration of reading. I’m a bibliophile and dreamed of raising readers, so I’m thrilled 🙂

– My favorite books for my first grader are the Magic Tree House series, the Henry Huggins books and Ramona Quimby books, and I really loved reading the Charlie and Mouse books with him for quick reading nights.

– My favorite books for my fourth grader are revised editions of classics that are appropriate for a nine-year old and maintain the plot, spirit, and amazingness of the very challenging originals. My hope is he loves them so much he will read the fuller versions in his teens. We’ve read Moby Dick, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Robin Hood, and more.

2. We love our new shared hobby of drawing and painting and coloring, and have used all mediums, such as oil paints, pastels, and watercolor, and watched zillions of YouTube videos together and art books. Both boys are talented at drawing, and it’s so relaxing! We also make puzzles together, and finished about 6 large puzzles in the last two months. I can’t wait to share these in upcoming posts, particularly what we’ve been doing in terms of drawing and painting!

3. I discovered keto early in the year and completely changed my body. I listened to this book about intermittent fasting and keto and joined related facebook groups for support to kick start my weight loss, and still eat a mostly keto diet every single day. I rarely exercise anymore – I discovered slender people who eat healthy (and low carb) tend to not have to worry about being “skinny fat”, and muscle tone just appeared as smooshiness and water retention sort of faded away. I have no evidence of this, just anecdotal, and my own experience, but I’m thinking carbs are just not fabulous for so many reasons.

4. After a recent, very close, fatal neighborhood home fire that resulted from an unattended candle (and compounded by non-working smoke alarms), we decided to step it up in terms of improving fire safety in our home and now have two smoke/carbon monoxide detectors on each floor, as well as a small fire extinguisher in every single closet of the house, and two collapsible two-floor fire ladders so my children don’t have to jump two stories onto a cement ground should the unthinkable ever happen.

5. We dabble in homeschool. After being disappointed with the boys’ progress for two important subjects (and the nonchalance of their school regarding my concern), I read a zillion books on homeschooling and have been working with both at home, with phenomenal results. It’s made me consider full-time homeschooling, but I haven’t committed to it completely yet (and hubby isn’t on board, which is important, so as of right now, they are still in private school with me in the wings helping out). I think for anyone who is considering this educational path but not totally sure, this may be a good way to test things out, especially once kids become more independent and self-directed.

The boys wanted to try something on their own, so after receiving harmonicas for Christmas, they now spend hours learning how to play from YouTube videos (the harmonica is a fabulous, teach-yourself instrument!), and they are really, really good. It’s made me realize I can start basically handing them over certain items and tools and they are able to figure things out on their own through trial, error, and their own research. What a great age!

penelope guzman family