Our jar of “good things that happened in 2013”

“I hope that this year to come, you make mistakes…Make new mistakes. Make
glorious, amazing mistakes…Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make
your mistakes, next year and forever.” ~Neil Gaiman

Happy new year! I wish you and your loved ones a year filled with happiness, love, friendship, kindness, caring, fun, and new experiences. I don’t really make new year’s resolutions anymore, but rather a list of projects I want to accomplish each year. I got a lot crossed off my list in 2013 but I have a few leftovers I’m shifting to 2014, and a lot more to add. I’m looking forward to making some things happen this year.

If you follow my blog, you may have heard me mention our jar of “good things that happened in 2013” a few times. As the year comes to an end, we tend to remember the bad but not always the good. For the first time in 2013, my boys and I used this jar to focus on the positive and help us remember all the good things that would happen to us throughout the year. As 2013 started, I was wondering how we’d get our jar full. After all, it’s quite a big jar.

Jar of good things that happened in 2013

Jar of good things that happened in 2013

But as we opened our jar yesterday, it was full to the top. And full of many great events we forgot about. So in no particular order, here are a few of our many favorite.

When it comes to nature, we were especially lucky this year. We saw baby bunnies playing from the window of our cabin while vacationing in the Southern California mountains. Apparently rabbits love to play leapfrog.

Bunnies playing in Idyllwild

Bunnies playing in Idyllwild

While hiking in a local park a few months ago, we spotted a mule deer down the trail, and a few hours later watched a teenage boy pull a huge wide mouth bass out of a pond.

We saw a painted turtle laying eggs while walking in our town’s park. Something we won’t forget for a long time.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened Lemur Walk, an exhibit with no fence between you and the animals, so we got to walk with the lemurs. Very cool!

Lemur walk at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lemur walk at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Oh, and let’s not forget I freed a snake by myself that was tangled in our backyard!

We saw Dino Jaws, a great exhibit with lifesize animatronics at the San Diego Natural History Museum. We also enjoyed their Mammoth and Mastodons exhibit later in the year.

Dino Jaws at the San Diego Natural History Museum

Dino Jaws at the San Diego Natural History Museum

We visited our first lighthouse. We took a 90-minute train ride on a old train at the San Diego Southwest Pacific Railway Museum.

My kids has their first try at fishing with friends of mine. That same day, we went on our first pedal boat ride and had a blast.

More things we did together: not one, but two Easter egg hunts (one at a local park, one in a museum); a very fun mother/son laser tag event at school; a water balloon fight in our backyard; apple picking in the fall; pumpkin surface carving for Halloween.

Surface carved pumpkins

Surface carved pumpkins

My kids learned to swim. They have a lot more to go but it really clicked this year.

They crashed a birthday party and got to hit the piñata a few times and collect some candy!

My youngest lost his first tooth and is now quickly catching up to his brother.

My sister came to visit us, after we didn’t see each other for three years. Great highlight of 2013.

I learned how to make homemade yogurt and I haven’t gone back to store bought since.

I completed PiBoIdMo, coming up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. It got me motivated to write picture books again.

My kids got several awards at school for their efforts and good behavior. My youngest graduated preschool and got a big dinosaur book because he was the boy in his class who did the most book reports. Dinosaurs, roar!

We got our elf on the shelf, Wink. We said goodbye to him on Christmas Eve and we can’t wait to see him again sometime later this year.

We went to Legoland California and saw the lifesize X-wing starfighter. Apparently, this was a big deal because I put it in the jar not once but three times! We also went to enjoy some Christmas lights and concerts there. We spent the evening of New Year’s Eve there watching the Lego brick drop (on right of photo below) and the fireworks. What a great way to finish a great year!

Brick drop at Legoland on New Year's Eve

Brick drop at Legoland on New Year’s Eve

Overall, this was a great experience for us and we loved recollecting each event as we read our pieces of paper. We’re looking forward to putting more good things in our jar, which now states “good things that happened in 2014”.

What good things happened to you in 2013 you’d like to share?


30 responses to “Our jar of “good things that happened in 2013”

  1. Love it all. A post that celebrates of all things good and inspiring for 2013. Reminds me of what my sister told me yesterday, “Just remain positive. Claim in your mind and heart everything that is good. That life is beautiful no matter what.” She is so right. God bless and Happy New Year to you and your family. Oh, thank for that link. Truly an inspiring post and work.

    • This jar really helps us focus on the positive in 2013. Lots of bad things happened but we decided to let them go and instead only remember the good. It was so much fun going through all our pieces of paper yesterday, remembering some of those moments we forgot.
      I’m glad you found the video link interesting.

  2. What a great way to not only be grateful for the little things but to make rich memories for you and your boys. Gives you a chance to relive them. I think that jar is a great idea; I just worry I wouldn’t maintain it!

    • It was so much fun reading about these pieces of paper yesterday, laughing on some of these moments we forgot and making the memories last longer. It’s really easy to set up and maintain. Our jar is in full view, so if any day we think about something to put in there, we do it. Out of 365 days in a year, you’re going to fill it up somehow.

  3. I love how you did this. It reminds me of my mom growing up; she always had us filling jars with kind acts and other things like that. It was fun. Your boys have a super mom. I’m so impressed you kept it up all year.

  4. I figured that jar would be full! That’s great that you all enjoyed so much. I especially like the sound of crashing a birthday party and dino jaws looks like it must have been a lot of fun. You are a super mom!

  5. I note in your list of Good Things ~ Nature that you did NOT mention your backyard SNAKE. :razz:

    Yesterday, BFF and I went through our Gratitude Jar for 2013 and felt FANTASTIC and POSITIVE as we looked back on all the good that permeates life ~ nature, music, food, sunlight, friends, etc.

    We get to choose our focus and perspective. Doing so makes all the difference. Like you guys, we started up again ~ this year using a Gratitude Basket rather than a crystal vase.

    • I did mention the snake! Did you miss that? Definitely something to remember, gulp… I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the exercise too. We had so much fun reading all our good moments last night. We saved our many favorite (more than I could list in my post) for future remembrance. It would be great to look at them again in a few years.

      • You did? I just looked again . . . no snake popped out at me. But I see you mentioned him in the comment thread.

        I put all our slips from 2013 in an envelope and wrote some of the main themes on the outside of the envelope. I stuck it in the bottom of the basket in case we want to review 2013 again some time.

      • Wow, that is SO weird because I remember typing it and linking to the post about it. It somehow must have been delete, maybe when I inserted a photo. I guess I’ll have to put it back in there!

      • This is so weird because I remember typing it and linking to the post about it. It must have been deleted when I inserted a photo in that spot. I’ll have to put it back in!

  6. I really love your jar idea. I think I’m going to pinch it for 2014!! ;-) Happy New year to you!

    • Do it! It’s easy to do, fun as you add items to it, and very rewarding when you look at it all at the end of the year.

      • It could become a yearly event looking back over the year on the 31st!
        I can already get off to a flying start: today for the first time my in-laws took the two younger kids and looked after them for four hours and we went to the sauna. It was so relaxing. :-) Tomorrow I am going to find a jar!!!

      • Great one to start with! You could also add a note every day you don’t hurt yourself. Just kidding ;-)

  7. What a busy year you had! I love all the positive energy, small moments of joy, and milestones that added up to one great year. A good thing for me in 2013 was having all my girls home for Christmas. Except for two days for my uncle’s funeral, we hadn’t been in the same state at the same time all year!

  8. I remember your jar! Such a wonderful way to record special moments and reflect on the past.

  9. Thanks for giving us courage to face the year with a brave heart ready for any challenges and yes, for mistakes that will mold us into better, stronger people. It’s back to school week 1 and a year ahead to make great adventures with our little ones. Wishing you a 2014 with even a bigger jar of good things and everything amazing.

  10. I love this idea! I think it’s great to teach kids (and remind ourselves) about how many blessings we all have in our lives – from the simple to the big. I just might have to borrow that idea in our house.

    I was recently reading about a positive psychology exercise that involves keeping a gratitude journal where you write down one thing you’re grateful for every day for a year. Your jar is very much in keeping with that idea. Awesome!

    • I’ve kept a gratitude journal for 30 days, where I would write 3 things I was grateful for that day. The jar is a lot more fun because you don’t have to put something in it every day and the whole family can participate and gets to read it all together at the end of the year. There were a lot of great events in our jar we forgot about, so I’m glad we did it.

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