Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Not Getting Any Younger

As requested (and reminded, year after year after year), we did not make a big to-do about Rob's birthday. We had dinner at Texas Road House but since he was sick and really not feeling well, we were very kind and didn't make him sit on the saddle. However we did surprise him with a cake and candles - it would be unforgivable in our house to let a birthday go by without cake! Just look at them - what lucky kids to have such a great dad. They keep him young, no matter how many birthdays go by.

Happy Birthday, Bo!

Haley's going to look like a hockey player soon, her teeth are falling out one after the other! She was so excited that her first top front tooth came out.

Christmas and a Blizzard, 2009

Nothing makes you count your blessings like being snowed in for Christmas. A major blizzard blew into town Christmas Eve and we were so grateful that we had everything we needed for the holiday. Haley and Jake were counting down the minutes, it seemed, until Santa would arrive and we somehow managed to corral them for a Christmas Eve dinner & telling of the nativity story before letting them open their one gift that night. They both knew to expect pajamas but Haley was thrilled to discover that hers was a nightgown to match her Samantha doll, and Jake was excited that he and Alex had matching ones. Once we wrestled them into bed Rob and I had a great time playing Santa - we always go overboard but no one seems to complain.

The next morning we listened to Jake get up at 6:30 to use the bathroom, then pause in the hallway before racing into our room to announce that Santa had filled all the stockings and left them in the hall. This was our first Christmas in this house and it was fun to figure out how to do the "reveal." It was also fun, as always, to watch Haley and Jake and their drastically different reactions to their Santa presents. Jake bounces and shouts and races from toy to toy, while Haley freezes with a huge grin on her face while she takes it all in. These kids are so amazing and we feel so blessed to be able to surprise and delight them; Christmas is certainly 100 times more fun with kids!

We spent the entire morning opening gifts (with lots of play-breaks), and the afternoon snacking and playing and reading by the roaring fire as the snow drifts grew outside. The entire town was shut down and we were grateful we hadn't planned any travel, as all the highways and airports were closed. But despite being stranded from friends and far from family, we felt the love from you all and hope that your holiday was just as wonderful!

Woohoo! New pajamas!

Alex was not very good at unwrapping. Good thing he had a big brother and sister to help.

Santa surprised Haley with a bed for her doll Samantha. Painted and decorated and with sheets and a real quilt! Santa was very proud of herself - ahem, himself.

Santa brought ice skates for the whole family, even Samantha!

So Christmas-y and cute!

Laying among the stocking spoils.

Ready for the morning.
Santa brought new sleds for the kids so they braved the blizzard to play with them. The snow drifts were big enough to sled would be a while before we could try out the ice skates at the rink in the nearby park.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Pictures 2009

I was very late taking our Christmas pictures this year and they did not turn out technically perfect. But they do capture the kids' personalities and that's always my biggest goal.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Fun and Decorations

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and Christmas activities are in full swing. We finally got to attend the annual "Santa Village" that the park department puts on and the kids had a great time making crafts and riding horses outside while waiting for Santa to show up. We finally got some snow and are anticipating another White Christmas!

Grandparents have been asking for pics of our tree and decorations...Rob also posted some video of the house on his FaceBook page.

Yeah, I know I'm cute. All bundled up and ready to head outside.
Making ornaments at Santa Village. What a fun event!

The kids got to ride on the horses while waiting for sleigh rides and Santa.

2009 gingerbread house! At least SOME of the candy made it onto the house.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Haley came home with an assignment this week to decorate a gingerbread person for their gingerbread unit at school. We traced and cut one out for Jake to do too, and then pulled out all the craft supplies and went to work. They both had very clear ideas of what they wanted to do and the finished projects are below:

Haley came up with the idea for the hair and shoes herself - so sweet!

I just laugh and laugh whenever I look at this - it's so hilarious! Jake did this ALL by himself and was very proud of his finished product. He says it's a "Daddy" one...Um, I'm sure Rob is very flattered...and for the record does not wear dangly gold belts.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving & Mom's Visit

Grateful. Thankful. Pleased. Contented. Happy. Appreciative. I could go on and on describing how wonderful it was to have my mom out to visit for Thanksgiving. She arrived on the train from Seattle on Sunday night and the next day we dived right into the projects we had planned for the week. She painted stunning works of art on the kids' bedroom walls, did most of the holiday baking and cooking, and beat me soundly at Bananagrams. She also did the table centerpiece and we made these cute turkey place cards with the kids.

The kids of course couldn't get enough of "Grandma Ann," and the week flew by all too quickly. It was a much-needed and much-appreciated visit, and the only thing that would have made it better was to have my brothers and sisters out here're all invited next year!

10, 9, 8, 7... I LOVE this retro rocket Grandma painted on Jake's wall. The jet stream curves around the corner and we're planning to add some stars around it with glow-in-the-dark paint. Blast off!
Although this was not the design I had imagined, it's what Haley picked out and we were all delighted with the finished picture - so cute!

Per Breckon family tradition, we put up the Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Is Alex really 5 1/2 months old already? He had his first solid food (rice cereal) this week - yum!

Rob and our little pumpkin! Look at those cheeks!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Brave, Smart, and Strong Princess

I am all for a good fairy tale - the fair princess, the knight in shining armor, the danger, rescue, and fabulous romantic ending. I loved the Disney classics as a kid, and then delved into the darker originals by The Brothers Grimm as a teenager. In college I took a class called "French Fairy Tales" and spent many afternoons on the lawn of the quad lost in the enchanted forests and castles of Perrault and d'Aulnoy.

However, when it came to raising our daughter I felt very strongly that she not be limited to the "helpless heroine" stereotype. I read a study once that said girls today very rarely hear that they are brave, smart or strong. Haley certainly went through a Disney princess phase (as most 3- and 4-year-olds do) but over the years we have encouraged her to be brave and strong and to stick up for herself. I often wondered if it was sinking in.

Then last night we watched "The Wizard of Oz" as a family for the first time. Haley followed the story carefully and was concerned for Dorothy when she was captured by the flying monkeys and locked up in the tower. But a moment later she turned to me and said, "Why doesn't she get up and find a way out of the witch's castle instead of just sitting there and crying?"

Hurray for our brave, smart, and strong little princess!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Peter Pan & Family

We had such a great time putting together our costumes for Halloween this year - at least Haley and I did. We came up with an idea in early September and it managed to all come together in time for the church "Trunk-Or-Treat" activity. Haley was a darling Tinkerbell; Jake made a fierce Captain Hook; I tried my best to look youthful as Wendy; Alex was the crocodile; and Rob was a very brave man in tights as Peter Pan. Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

He can't help it if he's more darling than fierce.

Haley's costume was purchased, but we made her shoes; they turned out great!

Tic-toc, tic-toc, who's afraid of the big, bad croc?

We were too busy setting up for the Trunk or Treat to get good shots of our Wendy and Pan costumes - but that's probably for the better.

Jake decided to wear last year's dragon costume instead of Hook. They collected an insane amount of candy trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood.