Monday, December 3, 2012

Welcome Baby Dallin!

We welcomed baby Dallin into our family on November 30th at 2pm.  He broke my water and decided to come 10 days early!  He weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and is 20.5 inches long.  I have had the best c-section ever...turns out 3rd time really is a charm.

He is a good eater and a pretty calm baby.  He rarely cries, but saves it up to let out a real he's on Space Mountain or something.  :o)

His sisters can't hold him enough or look at him enough although I'm sure that will wear off someday and they'll be saying "tell him to stop looking at me!" or "Dallin won't stop touching me!".  Until then, I will enjoy this family peace.

Here are some photos of Dallin Jeffery Butler at the hospital.  He has lighter hair than the girls did and less of it overall (but more on his ears).  He has my nose and my toes (I'm so sorry for those toes, Dallin).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Claire's Birthday Party

Claire turned 3 in July, but since most of her friends were traveling over the summer, we postponed her birthday party until school started.  We had 6 little girls come, which was a good turnout.  The party was "ballet" themed.  Claire just started dance lessons and is really into it right now.

We started by coloring a picture of a ballerina.

Then we had a mini-ballet class with a "real" ballerina.  The ballerina was a young woman from our ward at church.  She taught them some ballet steps and had them practice the moves.

Lovely pointed toes!

Then we had birthday cake.  I made a rose cake that I saw on Pinterest and it turned out pretty good!  Claire had asked for this cake and I think she really liked it.  She managed to stick her finger in the frosting before I could take a picture or cut the cake.

After cake, I gave each of the girls a ribbon wand that I'd made for them.  They danced and really enjoyed those ribbon wands.  Fortunately no one hit anyone else.  I was a little nervous when I saw them whipping them around.  We also did freeze dance, ballerina may I? (like mother may I?), and ballerina says (like Simon says).

After the games it was time to open presents.  Claire really liked everything she got and was sure to tell each girl "thank you" and give them hugs.

Happy Birthday, Claire!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lily's First Day of School

Lily started Kindergarten on September 4th.  Her teacher is Mrs. Ridge and she goes half-time.  Here she is leaving the house on the first morning.  So sweet!
She really enjoyed her first day.  She really enjoyed music class and told me all about the different instruments they got to try out.  She loved recess and was happy to find Charlie (another boy in our neighborhood) to play with.  She said they have 3 recesses!

She enjoyed playing horses with the other kids in class during open play.  She said they used the rope from the letter bead lacing area to tie up their horses.  She told me her horse was hit by a train and broke all of its legs, but the daddy horse (who can fly, of course) came and saved her.  She said she talked to another girl and said, "Hi." to her and that the other girl said, "Hi" back.  Then they practiced sharing and saying thank you.

She was relieved that there were stools for the drinking fountains.  She learned that all the workers necklaces (lanyards with ID badge) and that they can help her.

She told me that she cried a couple of times during they day.  Once during lunch - she didn't know where to line up with her class and because she took too long to eat and had to throw away her chocolate pudding cup.  The second time when her teacher put her on the wrong bus to come home.

Fortunately, her teacher called me shortly after putting her on the wrong bus and told me that Lily really wanted to ride a different bus (her correct bus) but that she had a different bus listed from the school.  I told her teacher that Lily had been right and now was on the wrong bus, so she had me call the other school's office (the buses all go to the other elementary school to pick up more kids before they start their routes). I called and they tried to radio the bus Lily was on, but of course that bus' radio didn't work.  So they ran outside and got her off the wrong bus and brought her to the office so I could go and pick her up.  Lily was really worried that I wouldn't be able to find that caused a few tears.  I got their super fast and picked her up and cracked some jokes to help her feel better.  The next bus ride won't be so traumatic.

She said that nobody called her a crybaby when she cried, they just tried to make it better.  That made me really happy to hear.

So...the first day was great, with a few hiccups, and I'm sure she's going to have a really fun year in kindergarten!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Tahlia's Chocolate Tour

Since we were really busy on my birthday, and I wanted an "experience" more than a particular gift, we went to Pike Place market over Labor Day weekend to do our own chocolate tasting tour.

Here were the stops:
Winco Grocery Store - we got chocolate donuts for our drive up to Seattle

Cupcake Royale - the Peppermint Party cupcake.

The Chocolate Box - an amazing, yet tiny, $3 truffle made locally with chocolate from France. Wow! They also gave us samples of sipping chocolate...I will be buying this super-rich hot chocolate every time I go to the market in cooler weather. I love hot chocolate and this was exceptionally good.

KuKuRuZa - Hawaiian Salted Carmel popcorn.  So sweet at first with a salty bite at the end.  Admittedly, this was not chocolate...we started straying into "food we wanted to try" instead of just "chocolate".

Pike Place Chowder - Totally worth the line.  We got a sampler of 4 chowders (listed in order of preference): Original Clam Chowder, Seafood Bisque, Smoked Salmon Chowder, and Mexican Chicken Chowder.  They were all amazing!  Plus it fed our family of 4 because they give you all the sourdough bread you want.

The Confectional - White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  So rich and so good.
Dahlia Bakery - owned by a famous Seattle chef.  We tried the Truffle Cookie - voted best cookie in Seattle and it did not dissapoint - and the mini coconut cream pie.  Both were really good, but by this point we were having a really hard time finishing.  We had to save half the cookie for later...(later being the next morning for breakfast!).

After our food tour we went to see the Fremont Troll.  He lives under a bridge in the Ballard area.  Pretty crazy.  Here are the girls with the troll, and yes, he is holding a real VW Beetle.

It was a great time as a family and something we wouldn't normally do, which made it special.  The hard thing is now every time I go to the Pike Place Market I'm going to want to revisit these places!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Robin - Part 3

Well....the robin won.  :o(  She built her nest right on top of the spikes!  She seems to like them - added security, you know?  And she's been sitting on the nest ever since, which makes me believe she has at least one egg in there.  And once there are eggs in the nest, you're not allowed to mess with it because they are "protected".  Well, the mess hasn't been too bad.  And we just use her, kind of like a guard dog, to frighten potential criminals away.

It will be neat to see baby birds soon.  And THEN we can get rid of the nest!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Robin...the saga continues

Well, the dinosaur and tiger were just a minor distraction to the birds.  the next day we found the tiger topped on his side (and we know the wind didn't do it).  The triceratops wasn't quite as lucky....he had been pushed off the edge if the pillar, plummeting to his death (if he'd been alive).  In his place, on top of the pillar, was a nice new nest.

We know these robins mean business, but we are not backing down!

I didn't want to do it, but I felt we had no other option...we hammered nails through a board to make spikes to put on top of the pillars.  I've seen similar things used to deter pigeons from businesses.  I didn't want to hurt the birds, but I definitely don't want to be spending my summer cleaning up bird poop.  I thought for sure this would work.

Well, this morning when I came downstairs,  there were the a nice new nest, on to of the spikes.  It didn't even phase them!

Jeff has some more ideas up his sleeve...hopefully something works!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


We have a cute little robin family that really wants to nest on our front porch.  I really like robins, but not when they try to take over my home.  We have been battling nature since we moved into our house a year ago with the woodpeckers, moles, and bees.  The robins are the last straw.

We noticed their nest about a month ago and decided to take it down since it was empty.  My dad assured me that the robins would renest.  We recently found they had the exact same spot! Jeff put his old stinky lawn-mowing shoes on their nesting ledge hoping that his smell would scare them away (it would have worked with me).  But they just came back today and started building their nest on top of his shoe!

We decided to try to scare them away with some wildlife of our own.  We put a tiger on one ledge and a triceratops on the other ledge.  I sure hope this works!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tea Party

To celebrate birthdays, a couple of good friends and I got together to have a tea party.  In Sumner (a nearby town) they have the Secret Garden Tea Room where you can get a full service tea.  I had never done this before and it was so much fun!  We had a steamy pot of hot cocoa and then they brought out scones with raspberry jam, lemon curd, and cream. Yum!  Then they brought out a tiered tray with warm savory appetizers, tea sandwiches, fruit, and mini desserts.  I would love to take Lily here when she gets a little bit older and have a mother-daughter date.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trip to Forks

Jeff wanted to plan a weekend getaway as one of his birthday presents.  So he did!  He planned a trip for us to visit Forks, WA and some other scenic areas of the Olympic Peninsula.  Here's the play-by-play:

1st stop:  Sequim, WA (pronounced squim)  to visit the Dungeness Spit, a 10 mile sand bar that sticks out into the Strait de Fuca.  Its a popular nesting ground with sea birds.  I saw a golden eagle and several deer which was fun.
2nd stop:  Port Angeles, WA to visit Twilight sights!  We stopped in downtown Port Angeles to relive the magic of Twilight - Ha!  We stopped at the bookstore, where I was surprised to find a cardboard cutout of Bella wearing a Twilight T-shirt.

Then we saw the movie theater where Bella had her "double date" with Jacob and Mike Newton.  And where she went to the movies with Jessica and then ran off with the biker afterwards.  Too bad they were only showing R-Rated movies...none of which was Face Punch.
Then we went to Bella Italia, the location of Bella and Edwards first date.  It was not open for lunch, so we did not eat there.  Plus the "Bella" mushroom ravioli was $17 - too rich for my blood!
3rd stop:  Lake Crescent, a 600-ft deep glacier-fed lake in the mountains of Olympic National Park.  The lake is very blue and clear because it is low in Nitrogen, which makes it difficult for algae to grow.
4th stop: Marymere Falls - nearby was a relatively short hike to a waterfall, so we did it.  There was still snow on the ground, but it was still very green - hard for my brain to make sense of.  We had the place to ourselves, which was awesome, and it was so nice not having our kids with us because I didn't have to worry about them getting tired, or cold, or hungry, or bored, or hurt, or needing to go to the bathroom.

5th stop:  Forks, WA.  We had arrived in Forks!  We stopped by the Visitor's Center and they gave us a list with the addressed of the twilight sights in town.  None of the movie was filmed in Forks, but its true to the book.

Here are Bella's trucks at the Visitor's Center.  The one I'm standing next to is from the movie, but the one in the background is the one from the book - different years.
 Here's me and all my buddies.
 This is the US map of where the visitors to Forks have come from.  They also had an international map that was equally impressive.

We visited Forks Outfitters, where Bella worked and shopped.
 Then we stopped by the Swan residence.  Bella's room is upstairs.
 Then we swung by the hospital.  Someone was parked in Dr. Cullen's spot!
We stopped by Forks High School.
 And the police station.  I didn't bump into Charlie. Too bad.
 Then we stopped at the Cullen House.
 Its a bed and breakfast and on the front porch they have a daily letter from the Cullens
After checking into our bed and breakfast, we stopped for a romantic moment in front of the Forks Welcome Sign.  Tender.
 We headed out to La Push for dinner and crossed the treaty line.
We had dinner at a restaurant near the ocean with a beautiful view of the sunset.  Normally its really rainy this time of year, but we really lucked out and enjoyed mostly sunshine and beautiful scenery. Here's the view from our table.  We headed back to the B&B and watched the first Twilight movie and got ready for a day of fun to follow!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jeff's Birthday

Jeff turned 30 this year.  Its a major milestone (and one I hope never to reach)!  We had a small celebration at home, just Jeff and I and the girls....and the richest, most delicious chocolate cake.  Here is a link to the recipe in case you are curious:  We could only find the princess candles for the cake.  Poor guy.

Jeff had to wear the birthday hat we got at the dollar store.  Its supposed to be a family tradition, but our girls don't want anything to do with it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DisneyWorld - Last Day

The last day at Disney World is so bittersweet.  Its then that you realize you didn't take enough pictures!  Here's are some classic shots we realized we hadn't taken.

Here's Claire and Lily on the teacups.  We rode twice in a row.  They wanted to ride 3 times, but I couldn't do it.  Twice in a row was one too many times for me!

Then as we were waiting for the the Magical Express to take us to the airport we got pictures with the first letters of our name.