Monday, December 30, 2013

Cheers to 2014!

Looking back at this past year gave me quite a few take aways.  Overall, a good year.

The trio is well; fortunate to have them healthy, happy and learning.  The older kids love their teachers and schools.  They have found joy in swimming, gymnastics, dance and soccer.

The hubs was promoted and truly enjoys his work. (a gift we don't take for granted)  He continues to be a wonderful dad and devotes any free time to the four of us.

We had two super getaways.  Our Disneyland/Grand California Hotel stay really was magical.  While only 30 minutes from home, we felt like we had traveled far away and were treated to family fun.   A week in the High Sierras was medicine to our souls. The slower pace, fresh air and serene rugged mountains gave us the opportunity to strengthen our family bonds.

Throughout the year, I tended to all things family and snuck in reading when I could.  I observed and reflected.  I've spoken honestly and gave a lot of myself to others.  I GAVE A WHOLE LOT. Hopefully. I have matured a bit too.

With the New Year just a few days away, I've set some goals. The theme to my goals include adding self care to my to do list and making MY dreams happen.  One thing that came very clear this past year is that in order to care for others I must take care of myself.  I've created a pin board with my affirmations, goals, reminders etc...for 2014.  Take a look, perhaps you need this as much as I do. Pinterest Link

I am excited to welcome in a New Year.  There is something energizing and beautiful that comes with new beginnings.  Cheers to 2014!
*image via lorna jane

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rose Hills

Christmas can be a sentimental time.  As I look across the table at chairs that were once filled by love ones who are departed, I can't deny I feel moments of sadness.  It is a subtle ache that I hold close and push on through.

For years I have visited Rose Hills prior to Christmas.  I stop by the graves of family members, pause for thoughts and reflection, wipe of their headstones and leave flowers.  My body feels lighter and my heart aches a little less afterwards.

This morning we (my dad, brother and I) set out a little before six.  We arrived at Rose Hills while it was still quite chilly. The grass was wet and the sun was beginning to rise over the hills of the cemetery.  Our first stop was Robert's grave.  Visiting his grave stirs my core and while I know he is at peace, I miss him dearly.

After visiting my Uncle Robert's grave, I got a little teary.  My dad stretched out his arm over my shoulder for comfort.  And then it happened, we looked up to see one beautiful deer crossing the road.   My dad, brother and I stood still and a herd of deer followed behind the first.  We stepped into the car and drove a little closer for a better look.  These gentle beings stood unafraid with a majestic presence. We were in awe of their beauty and captivated by their grace.

What a gift it was to have these animals cross our paths.  It was as if they were protecting our loved ones.  I have no doubt they appeared to ease our hearts.  It was one of those moments that you just can't shrug off as a coincidence.  Serene. Peaceful. God's hand at work.  I will be forever grateful.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Traditions

I absolutely love the Christmas holiday season.
 Magic, wonder, incredible baked goods, glorious carols....yes, I do love it all.
 I like to share the joy I carry for this time of year with our littles.
 I am BIG on traditions, family and heritage, as you might already know.  
Thus, I am sharing how we usher in this special time of year.

I'd love to know what traditions you follow too, so feel fee to share!

Gingerbread house making brings out our creative as well as our sweet tooth sides.
 We like to paint pine cones too for just an extra touch of Christmas.

Salt dough ornament making is simply holiday fun.
Make the dough, cut out shapes and bake.
 A little paint and ribbon and you have an ornament for years.
What I have come to appreciate with this is
that you can keep it simple while the kids are young
and create more sophisticated ornaments as they mature.

The kids have their own trees in their rooms.  
Small artificial trees with ornaments that are special and unique
to them come out year after year.

Our Christmas scrapbook comes out and the kids look back
 at Christmas' from the past.
 Each year we add new photos to the book to chronicle the joy.

Trips to the tree lot year after year.  We search for the perfect tree.

Baking is synonymous with Christmas at the Kovac's house.
Cookies. Lots and lots of cookies are baked.

A book every night of Advent along with a chocolate after dinner
 as we countdown to Christmas.

Sparkles the Elf visits.

A picture with Santa.

Holiday performances by the kids.

Christmas Eve is celebrated at The Vukojevich Home.

Cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer.

Christmas morning at home!

We send out Christmas cards and gaze at the lights in the neighborhood.  All the magic of the season marinates within us.  Above all, we try to keep the birth of Christ in the center of our celebrations.  Songs, prayers and lots of references are made to baby Jesus being born so that our trio can someday understand Christmas is more than good Ole Saint Nick.

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas!