When I clicked publish on my first official post in May 2012, I don't know where I thought (or hoped) this blog would be in four years. I started it as an outlet for my reading passion. I wanted to be able to keep a record of the books I'd read, and I wanted to be able to connect with other readers. But besides the book reviews, I also wanted to capture how our family felt about books and reading and life in general. I never wanted it to become a family journal where I documented every activity (and I don't think it has), but I also didn't want to separate my actual life from the book reviews. I wanted this blog to be me, and I feel like I've stayed true to that original vision over the last four years.
A lot of bloggers recap their blog's highlights at the end of the year, but I prefer to do it in May when Sunlit Pages turns another year older. I hope you'll indulge me as I reflect back on some of the changes and additions that have happened over the last year and also remember a few favorite posts.
Here are some of the more notable things that happened on the blog:
- It got a major redesign last summer. My friend, Sarah, helped me with the new template. And my friend, Molly, drew the picture for the header. I still smile every time I open up this page and see all of us sitting under that tree because it reflects my ideal even if that's not what reading looks like for us all the time.
- I conducted my first official survey. I was so happy so many of you chose to take it, and the information was very helpful.
- I took a three-week break. On purpose and with intention. It was so good for me and helped me realize that I still like blogging. However, I continue to search for the perfect balance between blogging and mothering and my other interests and responsibilities. You may have noticed that I've been averaging two posts a week instead of three lately. I think that's just the season of life I'm in lately, and I'm working on being okay with it.
- I opened up my Raising Readers series to guest writers, and it's been so fun to see how other families encourage a love of books and reading in their homes.
- Suzanne and I started a monthly(ish) blab, which we appropriately christened, The Book Blab. Although we record it live (and always let our readers know when that will happen), we always post the videos with the show notes after we're done so anyone can watch them at anytime. Episode 6 will air later this week (Thursday, May 26th, at 7:00pm MST).
- I became an Amazon affiliate. Now if you click through one of the links into Amazon and then purchase something (anything!), I'll make a small commission.
- I started giving monthly family updates. I actually love putting together these posts, and even though they usually don't have too much to do with reading, I love summing up the big and little happenings in one post.
- I was a Cybils judge for the easy readers and early chapter books category. This was one of the most fun and rewarding things I did this year, and I'm hoping to participate again next year.
It's hard to see some of my favorite posts get lost in the archives, and so every year I try to resurrect just a few of them by highlighting them here. Hopefully you discover some that you haven't read before!
In no particular order:
Eye-Catching: 15 Awesome Birthday Cakes (a round-up of all the cakes we've made for our kids over the years)
Sentimental: The Most Marvelous and Exciting Father (a tribute to my dad)
Mind-Shift: The Lightning Bolt of Habit Change (it's pretty awesome when a good habit just sort of happens)
Book Review: The Boys in the Boat (if you haven't read this book yet, hopefully this review will convince you)
Survival: 8 Rules to Follow to Make Library Visits Work With Kids (I've finally had to give up the stroller, but I still follow the rest of these tips)
Agony: Why I Decided to Make My Life Crazy and Send My Kids to Two Different Elementary Schools (the follow-up to this post will be up at the end of this week)
Happy: Make a Library in Your Home (it's small, but I love it)
Mantra: I'd Rather Read Than Waste Time (what would YOU rather do?)
Rant: The Lost Art of Saying Thank You (one of those posts I didn't plan to write but couldn't help myself)
Honest: On Being Authentic (I continue to think about this one and cut people some slack because of it)
Activity: Poetry Snack Time (everything you wanted to know about this family activity that puts the spotlight on poetry)
Collection: 20 Parenting Books Later, and This is What I Remember (be sure to read the comments section of this one for even more ideas)
And finally, to celebrate Sunlit Pages' fourth birthday, I'm giving away one copy of Little Men in the Puffin Classics edition. This was one of my favorite books in 2015, and then, just a few weeks ago, I found it in this darling edition (that inspired me to write this post).
To enter, simply leave a comment! (Make sure your email is either linked to your profile or included in the comment so I can get in touch with you if you win!) (Oh, and also, should you win, I'll give you three days to reply to me with your address, afterwhich I'll select a new winner. Last year, the winner never responded and so the prize went unclaimed, and that's just too sad.) Giveaway closes on Thursday, May 26th, at midnight. (U.S. residents only. I apologize to my international readers! I still love you guys!)
Thanks for another great year of talking books and other things! I love reading your insights and recommendations in the comments or through email. There's nothing quite like connecting with other people who have that same passion for reading. Cheers!
Update: Congratulations to Jen Robinson who won the giveaway! Jen has been a reader here for many years and runs a wonderful blog herself. Go check it out!