Tag Archives: jar of good things that happened in 2014

A lot to be thankful for

It’s been ages since I wrote a post and I’d love to say that I’ll do a better job in the future, but it’s impossible to predict how busy life can be, especially with the holidays coming up. So what have I been up to these past few weeks? Months? I’ve mostly been working on expanding my career opportunities in the teaching field, by studying and taking several exams to work towards my teacher certification. My hard work has paid off since I passed my three exams with perfect or almost perfect scores and I can now get my foot back into the educational field. This is only the first step of a long process, during which there will be more studying and more tests to take, and even larger obstacles to overcome down the road, but I know it will be worth it in the end for my kids and myself.

Besides studying, I’ve spent more time on creative activities, including drawing and painting for myself, as well as teaching two art classes at my kids’ school as a volunteer. My goal is to create enough artwork and crafts to make them available for sale online sometime in early 2015. I’ve also recently created five new nature photography calendars for 2015 (the five themes are a year in Southern California, bees and other insectswater lilies, flowers and blooms, and water). The good news is that you can save 65% off on any of my calendars this weekend, so if you’re looking for a unique gift this holiday season, this is a great opportunity.

2015 photo calendar on San Diego

2015 photo calendar on San Diego

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Besides taking steps to realign my career goals with my personal aspirations, a lot of good things have happened (and a lot of bad things too, let’s be honest!). I have made new friends and strengthened existing friendships. I have made additional efforts to stay active and healthy. I have continued encouraging my kids to be curious and inquisitive about the world around them. I have challenged their thinking process and their academic abilities. I have taken them on an amazing vacation to the East coast, where they got to see and learn so much about US history with their own eyes. They enjoyed it so much, they can’t wait to go back and discover more. I also found great roommates, who ended up being way more than what I hoped for. It’s funny how life works sometimes. And of course, now that Thanksgiving is over, our favorite time of the year is coming! Today we’ll start decorating our house for Christmas, playing Christmas songs and reading more and more stories with a holiday theme. And I think our elf on the shelf will be back very soon too. All we need to feel more in the mood is for Mother Nature to turn down the thermostat so it’s not 85 degrees during the day anymore. I don’t think that’s much to ask.

When I say I have a lot to be thankful for, I’m not kidding. This is our jar of good things as it stands one month before the end of 2014. I can’t wait till my kids and I go through it to remember some of these great moments. What are you feeling thankful for this holiday season?

Jar of good things that happened in 2014

Jar of good things that happened in 2014

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?