The Butlers' Christmas Favorites


Thursday, December 31, 2015

First off, Happy New Year's Eve. I can't believe another year has flown by. Last year, we were in the hospital recovering from birth and spending time with our little ladies. We rang in the new year down in the NICU with other parents and nurses and toasted with sparkling cider. It isn't much different from what we will be doing this year, except we won't be in a hospital (thank goodness) and we will have sparkling wine/champagne instead.

We had a very special and memorable Christmas. It was filled with so much love. I am so thankful for how much family time we had with our girls. And we get even more family time this weekend with the girls first birthday party. So blessed.

Even though I don't want to focus on the gifts we received for Christmas, I did want to share what we received. As a gift guide for birthdays and special occasions in the future.

*In the spirit of full disclosure, some of the items listed are an affiliate link, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase any of the products I have listed. I only recommend products that I use and love myself.*

We will start off with our little ladies (the stars of the weekend!):
First Christmas/Birthday Gifts

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

The girls are really love their learning toys. They wanted us to open them right away so they could play with them. They wouldn't open another gift (or try) until we opened them. We can't wait to put together their new kitchen (that everyone raves about) and take them on walks in their wagon. The girls opened most of their gifts in their wagon on Christmas morning. They LOVED it.

Rory's Favorite Gifts:
Mens Christmas Favorites

1 2 3 4 5

Rory really wanted a new robe because we was "over" our Pottery Barn ones we got as a wedding gift. He picked it out and loved it. If you haven't tried the Mint Kit Kats, don't. They are heaven and you will want to eat them ALL. He also needed some new shirts and sweaters and he loves Eddie Bauer.

Danielle's Christmas Favorites:
Women's Christmas Favorites

1 2 3 4 5

I am loving my Twin Mama shirt (been wanting it forever) and I can't wait to wear it to the girls birthday party this weekend. The boots are waiting to be broken out, but the ice has hindered it. I want to wear these babies. The jewelry has been worn everyday since Christmas (even if the necklace doesn't match. I am ok with it.). And I am loving tea right now, so this is perfect for on the go and at work.
And the best joint gift we got was:

We opened these on Christmas Eve (it was our joint gift from my in-laws) and washed them early on Christmas so we could start using them right away. Heaven. No more getting into cold sheets. I never want to get out of bed. And apparently neither does Sutton because she has opted to sleep in our bed the last two night. Little stinker. Get these. You won't regret it.
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Christmas Weekend Part 2


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

If you didn't see Christmas Weekend Part 1, you can catch up here.

Get ready for a picture overload.

When we brought the girls out to see everything they were super excited to see this.
 The girls got a Radio Flyer Wagon and LOVED it.

I had been eyeing this since we saw the twins around the corner from our house being pulled in it. We put the girls in it right away and they couldn't stop smiling. They opened almost all their gifts while sitting in it.
 
The girls loved being pulled around the house in this. I just wish we could have tried it outside, but there was too much ice and snow.

As you can see, the girls opened all their gifts in the wagon as they didn't want to get out AT ALL. It was nice for us since it kept them in one place!

The girls were spoiled and it was so fun to watch them experience Christmas. They loved the paper, the boxes and the shiny bows. They didn't really play with the toys until later.
Avery walking with her new walker
 Sutton pushes her cart like a boss

After all the presents were unwrapped, we fed the girls and put them down for a nap. This is when mommy and daddy could enjoy more coffee, breakfast (my moms famous cinnamon rolls) and peace and quiet. The girls spent the day playing with all their new toys and crawling everywhere.

Family arrived around 3 pm to celebrate with the girls. More presents were unwrapped and toys were put together.
The girls with their grandpas

We had yummy appetizers, king crab, Cesar salad (using this homemade dressing, so good) and rolls. Then we had blackberry and peach cobbler for dessert. We were stuffed to say the least.
Before dinner was served
Non-beer version

Dinner was so good and only 3/4 lb was left out of 9.25 lbs. I would say we did a pretty good job. Dessert was amazing! The best way to cap off a great day.

Everyone left around 10 pm and we settled in with some Christmas movies and fell asleep very fast.

I hope you had a great Christmas!!

I will be back tomorrow featuring some of our favorite gifts.
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Happy 1st Birthday Sutton and Avery!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Today is the day. The day my babies turn ONE. The day they are no longer babies, but toddlers. Happy Birthday sweet girls.

It all started a little over a year ago (one year and a day) that I went into early labor. Very painful labor might I add. It was a very scary birth and delivery, but we were blessed with two gorgeous, healthy baby girls.

Baby girls, you didn't have it easy your first month of life as you spent it in the NICU, but you are fighters and got out well before your due date. A little preview of what was to come.

Life has been a whirlwind the last 12 months. So much has changed for you girls. You learned to suck, swallow and breathe at the same time. You found your sweet voices. You tolerated tummy time. You grew super fast. You found your hands and feet. You learned to sit. You learned to crawl. You said your first words. You stood on your own. You pulled yourselves up in your cribs. You went to daycare for the first time. You went on your first vacation to Graeagle. You saw your first Super Bowl. You went to Nevada Wolf Pack football games and became life long fans. You had your first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. You had sleepovers with family. You got helmets to correct the shapes of your heads. You went Christmas tree cutting. You cut 6 teeth. You met so many friends and family. And you spread love the last 12 months.

As I was going through photos getting ready for your birthday party, I cried (happy tears) the entire time. You have changed my life so much and I wouldn't change it for the world. You both taught me more in these last 12 months than I have learned in my entire life.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy. Thank you for being the sweetest, most loving, sassiest, most beautiful and intelligent baby girls. Mommy and Daddy love you more than I can express in words.

You were wanted before you were even conceived. You were dreamed about even before we were ready for children. You were loved even before you were here.

Sutton Kira Butler  
December 29, 2014
2:37 a.m.
3 lbs 15 oz
17 3/4 inches
 Avery Madison Butler
December 29, 2014
2:37 a.m.
4 lbs 8 oz
17 1/2 inches
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Christmas Weekend Part 1


Monday, December 28, 2015

Wow what a whirlwind of a Christmas weekend we just had. It was filled with so much joy, love, food, excitement and wonder!

Wednesday I had another excision on my mole and it caused a lot more pain than I thought it would. I ran a few errands to grab the last bits of Christmas things we needed and headed home to my pup, girls and husband. He made (homemade) pizza that night since I could barely move my arm.

I didn't realize how bad my shoulder was until I took the bandages off (after 24 hours) and saw this.
 This is a few days out and the bruising is way better.

7 internal and 7 external stitches. Ugh.

Thursday we had the day off (due to daycare being closed), so we took advantage of it and went snowboarding in 8 inches of new powder. Plus it snowed non-stop all day and accumulated another 8 while we were there (in 3 hours). The tracks were constantly covered over again and it made for an epic day. It got a little sketchy at times due to low visibility, but it was the best day of the season yet. Heck, the best day in a couple years. Bring on the El Nino.
 Hanging out with grandma while we went snowboarding

I was super careful with my shoulder, but I couldn't pass up a powder day. After snowboarding, Rory headed to an appointment and my dad came over to help me watch the girls (I had a hard time picking them up out of their cribs and mobility with my shoulder). I did some cleaning and we hung out with the girls.
 
That evening we went to my in-laws house for Christmas Eve. The girls got to open their first presents. They were more interested in the paper and boxes than the toys. Though they love the toys now.
 Avery super excited to open her gift
Sutton couldn't get enough of the paper
Daddy helping Avery (and wearing his Warriors Christmas sweater)
Mommy and Avery selfie
Walter cuddled up watching the girls open presents

We ate tons of food, drank some wine, opened some gifts and capped off the evening with watching A Christmas Story. It was a wonderful night. The roads were crazy icy on the way home, but we made it safely and prepped for Santa's arrival.

The girls were up bright and early Christmas morning, but were very content with playing in their room. We made some lattes (priorities people), started the fire, made sure all the Christmas presents were out and got the girls ready for the day.

Here is a little sneak peak of how our Christmas morning started.
Avery in her Christmas pjs and bow. She was super excited for Christmas morning.
Sutton in her Christmas pjs and bow.

I am saving Christmas Day for another post since this one is already getting really long. Stay tuned. And up tomorrow is my sweet baby girls' first birthday. Where did the time go?

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Cropping Your Christmas Videos


Saturday, December 26, 2015

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Right now, I am out enjoying brunch with some of my favorite ladies...my lady babies and childhood friends.

It is so good to be able to catch up with friends we rarely get to see because they moved away or life gets in the way.

I have been taking videos of everything for the girls' first Christmas and with their birthday three days away, I will be taking even more in the near future. But sometimes those videos are too long, involve crying or things that need to be edited out. This is where Movavi comes in.

Movavi is a suite of products to convert your vhs to digital, edit your videos, screen capture from videos and convert your power points to videos.

I was recently (early this morning) playing with the cropping feature. I wanted to crop some Christmas videos, crawling videos and NICU videos. I used this tutorial and software to crop them.

From the Movavi website:

"Have you been getting into the spirit of the season and begun to prepare or download various Christmas videos? If you’ve noticed that many of your Christmas videos have black bars along the sides then it would be a good idea to crop your video in order to get rid of them – seeing as they serve absolutely no purpose by being there.

Of course there are other reason why you may want to crop your video as well – for example, there may be a particularly good Christmas video that has too much going on in the background so much so it shifts attention away from the central element. In that sort of situation it makes sense to crop the video accordingly as well.

Even if you’re not quite sure how to crop video and have never done so in the past, you’ll be happy (merry?) to note that the Movavi Video Editor will make the entire process easy. All you need to do is:

  1. Add the video to the Movavi Video Editor by clicking on the ‘Add Media Files’ button and selecting it.
  2. Open up the ‘Tools’ tab and choose the ‘Crop’ list.
  3. In the ‘Preview’ window a rectangle will appear that you can resize to encompass the frame that you desire. If you want to preserve the aspect ratio be sure to check the ‘Constrain proportions’ box.
  4. When you’re satisfied click ‘Apply’ and then save the video by clicking ‘Export’ and selecting a format.
While you’re cropping your video you may want to take advantage of some of the other features of the Movavi Video Editor and enhance the quality of your video, cut and combine video segments, insert customizable text, apply special effects and filters or add audio tracks.

With so many different options available you should be able to quite easily ensure that your Christmas videos are exactly the way that you want them to be – and you should also be sure to optimize them for the device or platform you’re using via the hundreds of presets that are available.

Be sure to test out the process of cropping videos with the Movavi Video Editor so that you get a feel for how easy and straightforward it is. All the rest of the features are just as intuitive, so you should have no problem putting them to good use."

Tutorial on how to crop via Movavi website:

Step 1: Install the Program on Your Computer

Download and run the Video Editor installation file. Just follow the onscreen instructions to install the software correctly.

Step 2: Add the Video You Want to Crop

add file Click the Add Media Files. In the window that opens, select the video file you want to crop. The video you’ve chosen will appear on the Timeline at the bottom of the program window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Crop Your Video

crop video Click on the video and open the Tools tab. Then expand the Crop list. Stretch and move the rectangle in the Preview Window to define the desired frame area. To maintain the aspect ratio of the frame check the Constrain proportions box. Finally, click Apply. Yes, it’s that simple!

But Movavi Video Editor is much more than crop software. It is a multifunctional video editor: in addition to splitting, merging and cropping video files, it enables you to improve video quality, apply special effects, add music and titles, and much more.

 

 

Step 4: Save Your Cropped Video

save video You can save your video for viewing on your computer, prepare it for transfer to a mobile device, or convert it for uploading to YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo. Just click the Export button and choose the option you want. In the dialog window, select the desired video format or mobile device. Specify the video settings if necessary, and click Start.

 






It is really that easy. It works with both Windows and Macs. And it makes it really easy to share here on my blog.

This blog has been compensated by Sponsored Reviews and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Movavi #SponsoredReviews #CroppingHolidayVideos
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Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Today is the day! I just wanted to stop in and say... 
 via

I hope your day is full of love, happiness and beauty. Soak it all up and cherish every moment! I am so grateful for this blogging community and the friends I have made from it. Merry Christmas All!
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Christmas Eve


Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's Christmas Eve and I am hopefully up at Mt. Rose snowboarding. But I may be running last minute errands with my husband while my mother-in-law watches the girls. I was supposed to be at work, but who wants to work on Christmas Eve, even if they let you out early? The girls' daycare informed us on Tuesday night that they would be closed on Christmas Eve, so that meant we had to take the day off. I guess I will take that as a blessing.

The girls' Christmas pjs are all washed and ready for tonight.

We have our Christmas book picked out, Twas the Night Before Christmas, to be read to the girls before bedtime.

We will have cookies and milk set out waiting for Santa's arrival.

We are anxiously awaiting the start of A Christmas Story marathon (so giddy about this).

We are prepping to go to my in-laws house for Christmas Eve dinner (surprise menu).

We are hoping for a white Christmas (it has been snowing/raining all day).

We have our cinnamon rolls waiting to be baked in the morning. Thank you mom for continuing the tradition and sharing it with my family.

We have the fireplace prepped for a Christmas morning fire.

The camera batteries are charged.

Walter is wearing his Christmas sweater (from his aunt and uncle).

 The house is sparkling clean (it rarely gets THIS clean since we had the twins).

The Butler's are ready for Christmas!
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Random Thoughts on a Wednesday


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's Wednesday and I have a lot on my mind and this will surely come out very randomly, so bear with me.
 
It's Christmas Eve Eve and I have so much to be grateful for.

Last night I had girls night which always makes me so happy. I met up with the girls at a wine bar where we drank wine (obviously), had tacos and played bingo. Stacey won a growler (along with two others), so I call that a success. I wanted to win the $270, but sadly I was still 5 spots away (blackout).

Today I have my "surgery" on my back. I wouldn't call it a surgery, but that is what my dermatologist calls it. I am having a mole cut out (a lot of it), and will have internal and external stitches and about a one or more inch wound. Fun fun. But I am hoping they get all the bad/abnormal cells out and I don't have to go back to get more cut out. Fingers crossed.

Today and tomorrow are packed full. I still have more presents to wrap, have to put together the girls wagon, clean the bathrooms and kitchen floors, vacuum (again), dinner prep for Christmas dinner, grab a few last minute gifts (stocking stuffers for Rory and our pup Walter) and finish grocery shopping. And I am sure I am forgetting something.

I am looking forward to Christmas Eve dinner at my in-laws house. I am looking forward to Christmas morning with my girls, husband and pup. I am looking forward to hosting Christmas dinner with my family and my in-laws. I am looking forward to snowboarding. And I am looking forward to my girls birthday come Tuesday!!

But I am NOT looking forward to one of my best friends moving next week. Nathalie is moving to Oklahoma where her husband took a job. She starts a new adventure that doesn't include me or my family. I am so sad that she is leaving, but I am so happy that Matt introduced us at a bar about 8 years ago. She is one of the sweetest, most caring, bubbly, exuberant, intelligent and beautiful woman I have ever met and had the pleasure of knowing.

Next week we say goodbye, but not forever. Rory, the girls and I will be visiting soon and we can't wait to go to an Oklahoma (football) game.
 
Nathalie (maid of honor) and I at my wedding (August 2013)
Nathalie and I at her wedding (August 2015)

We got married two years and five days apart. Love you Nat!

I have been busy crafting away for the girls' birthday party on January 3rd. Ashley, if you are reading this, make plans to help me finish crafting please!! I am still working on the menu and buying any crafts I don't (read: can't) want to make. I want their first birthday to be a celebration of all the love everyone has for my baby girls. 

And I can't wait to come back on Monday and share the girls first Christmas with you all.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!
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The Twins First Christmas Ornaments


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I am a little late on joining in on the Bits of Cheer link up fun (with Keepin' Up With the Smiths, The Newly Blog and Simple Luxury) but I wanted to join in this week and share my little ladies first ornaments.
 
I sort of dropped the ball on getting my girls their "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments. My husband and I both have a couple of them from our childhood, but I forgot to order theirs when I purchased their personalized stockings.

I want them to be personalized as mine is, so I searched for ones that I can add all of their birth stats too.

Here are some of my favorites:
Baby's First Christmas Ornament List
1 2 3 4 5 6

I chose #4 for the girls. I love the cute blocks and these should last for many years (decades hopefully). They should arrive tonight (hopefully) and will be hung on the Christmas tree by tomorrow evening. I really want to let the girls hang them with our help. Great little new tradition.

I also plan to do a DIY Christmas ornament with the girls hospital bracelets and hats. These ones will be extra special because the girls spent 26 (Avery) and 27 (Sutton) days in the NICU. So their hats and bracelets are a little different than the normal ones.

Which ornaments did you chose for your baby's first Christmas?
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Weekending


Monday, December 21, 2015

We had a pretty good weekend. Short, but good. And I don't think the girls got the notice that it was the weekend because sleep didn't happen as much as I would have liked it too. Teething sucks!

I made this Thursday night for dinner and it did not disappoint. It was the first time I have made spaghetti squash. And the only thing I didn't like about it, was cutting the squash in half. Otherwise it was a win. I can't wait to try it lasagna style.

Friday after work, we had our Christmas party. But it was a lunch and after lunch thing. We went to a local brewery for food and drinks and then we went ice skating. I didn't take one single photo. Opps.

Then we picked up the girls and headed home. R went to a home basketball game and I watched Hallmark Christmas movies all night long. So awesome.

Saturday we went to breakfast, picked up our king crab for Christmas dinner and I went grocery shopping. We didn't do much else except watch some bowl games and sit by the fire. I did make spicy pork meatball sandwiches for dinner, which were also eaten as leftovers for lunch Sunday. Oh and we watched Vacation that evening. It was pretty funny, but definitely ranchy. I wouldn't watch it with the kids.
 How does she keep getting random scratches?

Sunday we made some coffee and hung out watching football. R cleaned up all the leaves in our yard and I watched the girls.

I also rearranged the girls play yard so I didn't have to stop them from going over to the fireplace (nonstop) and gave them more room to roam (less meltdowns for them).
Mommy win!

I also spied my little Avery girl admiring the Christmas tree.

I spent most of the day cleaning the house to get ready for Christmas. I tackled dusting, vacuuming, laundry and a deep cleaning of the kitchen. I still have the bathrooms and to vacuum again on Christmas Eve.

It was bath night, so we gave the girls a bath and they are still loving it. They love to play and splash. Definitely a favorite of theirs now. Then we played in their room while singing Christmas songs (FYI pandora has the best children's Christmas station) and being goofy.
Yes she is wearing a Halloween shirt around Christmas (nighttime shirt now)
Being goofy in her Wolf Pack chair
Sutton loves her lamb
Outtake sitting in the chair like a boss

We finished the evening by making dinner, hanging out by the fire and watching Christmas Vacation!

It was a pretty relaxing weekend which was much needed after all the fun and excitement we will have this upcoming week. We have family in town, surgery on a mole, dinners to attend, hosting Christmas dinner and hanging out with friends that are in town. It's the girls first Christmas and we are so excited to show them what it is all about. And in 8 days, the girls will be 1! So crazy.

Hope you all had a good weekend!
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