Thursday, December 18, 2014

Meet Blitzen

I grew up with a fake tree for most of my life. My mom claims we had a real tree for a couple of the early years, but either I was too young to remember, or she's lying. My first Christmas in Colorado is when Mr. B introduced me to my first REAL tree. If you know anything about my love of Christmas, you know the look I had on my face: pure excitement.

Unfortunately, the evergreens are sparse and slim here. Far less full than the evergreens on the east coast. So our first tree wasn't technically local. It had been hauled to Colorado on a milk truck from Wisconsin. Our second and third trees came from the most incredible nursery in Fort Collins. One that invites reindeer and Santa to greet their guests. But yet again, not local. However, last year and this year, we've made it a point to venture in the Colorado forest and cut down our very own. A tradition that will be around for years to come in this household.

Tree cutting day is like a national holiday in my book and one of my favorite events of the entire year.

This year, it fell on Mr. B's birthday and we believe birthday celebrations should be shared with people. So we invited our friends, Sam and Julie to come along with us. Now you have to understand, Sam is probably my Christmas-counterpart-twin. This kid loves Christmas (maybe more than I do) and was like a little kid. He couldn't eat his breakfast fast enough, before he was saying, "Let's go! I have been waiting all week for this." We laugh about his appreciation and giddiness for most anything in life - especially Christmas - but really, it's something we could all do a little more of.
#tackydecor my favorite

We drove nearly 2 hours to the Red Feathers Lake area where we paid "elves" $10 for a tree permit and were handed a map of the "tree lanes" in return. Mr. B knew immediately that he wanted to take his truck as far off road as possible, which meant we were heading to Vixen Way. There were people and families and children and dogs in every direction. Roping trees to the tops of their cars, tossing trees in the beds of their trucks, and others bundled up in anticipation of taking their little piece of the forest home with them.

The sun was shining, the wind was blowing and the men had a field day kicking their trucks into 4-wheel drive and sliding around on the icy lanes. After passing up hundreds of trees, we finally pulled off along side the road on Blitzen Lane and started our trek through the woods. Mr. B found a tree he liked immediately, but I convinced him to keep walking. I am a decisive person, but I like options and wasn't ready to commit to the first one he saw.

Sam and Julie walked a few more feet and soon found the one they wanted. The act of cutting down a tree that has a three inch trunk, is rather easy and takes about 3 minutes (tops). So we snapped a few photos as they yelled "timber" and picked up their tree in one fell swoop.

At that point, I realized, the first tree Mr. B had picked out, really was the winner for the Bores Quarters. However, have you ever tried to backtrack in a forest covered in snow? You get lost. While Sam was tossing their tree in the truck, the rest of us were wandering around for about 10 minutes until we agreed it was time to find another one. My husband was quick to point out a new tree and when Julie and I looked at it, we said, "Um, that's the original tree you picked!" I suppose it really was meant to be in our house this season. How did we know it was the original selection? Because the trunk was just slightly crooked at the bottom and was the first thing he pointed out when he saw it the first time.

As we headed back to load up our tree, we decided to add a new tradition to this festive day. Champagne. There was a lot to celebrate that day, aside from the trees. Julie had celebrated her birthday just a few days before and Sam asked her to be his wife as a birthday present. Cue the awes. And of course it was Mr. B's birthday. So we popped a bottle of bubbly and toasted with plastic cups in the middle of the woods. It was exactly the way friends should celebrate milestones like these.

We continued the celebration at a local bar near by and then finished at Sam and Julies with a glass of spiked eggnog. What was supposed to be one glass, turned into a near bottle of whiskey instead (for the boys).

My husband does not remember the evening of his birthday very well, but I sure do. I will spare you the details, except for one. I carried the tree in the house (back and forth from outside to inside three different times) until I got the height just right. It was my first time using a hand saw by myself and I felt a bit of empowerment. Not to mention, a bit of resentment because Mr. B was sound asleep on the couch while I drug a 9 foot tree around our house. Eventually he arose from his slumber and said, "Oh my, how did the tree end up inside and in the stand?" My reply, "The elves! Who the heck do you think brought it in?" Only I may have used a few other choice words ;)

I suppose these are the joys of mixing alcohol with Christmas tree day. Maybe I need to rethink that new champagne tradition.

Two days later we strung the lights and decided to wait for my mom and brother before decking her halls. Twinkly lights and ornaments make anything look good, even if it is a sparse Colorado tree. I introduce our 2014 Christmas Tree - Blitzen:

Thanks for joining us, soon-to-be Gillis'!

To read about earlier trees: Meet Forest | Meet Nordman Fir

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

First Annual Christmas PJ Party

Because I shaved my legs..

Oh yes it's ladies night, oh what a night, oh what a night! Insert music, because my voice is atrocious.

My bestie, Andrea, invited a bunch of ladies to her house last Friday for the First Annual Christmas PJ Party!! There's one thing I love and that's PJ's. Ask my husband what I spend 90% of my time wearing... his answer will be pajamas. #perksofworkingfromhome

Something else I love is Christmas. And lastly, I love my girlfriends (new and old). Put all three of those things together and its just one big love fest. Full of red velvet cake, truffles, wine, Santa Coca Cola's, gossip, hoop earrings, NSYNC holiday tunes, nurses, newlywed stories, festive babies, eye masks, and a bunch of hot women.

Although the day following left some of us with belly aches (aka bathroom issues | TMI, I know) from all the junk, it was a night full of fun and laughter. I am already looking forward to the Second Annual Party!! I suppose I better start shopping for new festive jammies now. Thankfully, Andrea knows how to dress me and surprised me with those gorgeous long john PJ's. It's acceptable to wear those in public, correct? Never mind, I do what I want. Don't be surprised if you see me wandering the aisles at target wearing my eye mask.

Thanks for the memorable evening, lady friends. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Switzerland Film

Well that took a long time. At this point I am trying to decide if it's even worth blogging about Ireland. I mean, at this rate, I could potentially have those posts completed by Summer.

However, in order to bring my Switzerland journal to an end, it's absolutely necessary that I share the best recap with you - Mr. B's film. It will mostly likely bring the posts you've read to life and help you grasp the beauty that Switzerland is made of.

We planned our trip together and by ourselves. Mr. B had purchased me a Switzerland travel guide for Christmas one year ago. Between the book, Pinterest-worthy photos, and trip advisor, we planned an agenda in the Spring and never looked back. For the most part we did a pretty good job. It was one of the most exhausting, yet majestic experiences of my life and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to explore this amazing country with my favorite travel companion and the one who taught me the importance of exploration.

Making memories are my favorite, but getting to relive them over and over again through these short films, is even better. Made by my talented husband, I introduce Switzerland, Bores style:

To read/see more about our time with the Swiss, you are welcome to visit these previous posts.
Triftbahn | Lucerne | Wengen | Lauterbrunnen | Zermatt | Geneva

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Bores Backpack Europe: Geneva, Switzerland

Our time in Geneva was short. Very short. It was a long train ride from Zermatt that required a few transfers along the way. So by the time we arrived it was already mid-afternoon. Not to mention, the exhaustion that was settling in from our weekly excursions.

We decided to Airbnb our only night there. It was our first time renting a bedroom in a place that someone already lived in. The concept is slightly unnerving, but worked perfectly for us. It was close to the train station and was clean – that’s all that mattered. But what we weren’t expecting were the cookies and juice upon arrival and the highlighted city maps and audio tour guides given to us from the men we were renting from. Talk about nice hosts!
Although our original plan was to lay in bed all afternoon, we decided to put those maps to good use and do a quick crash course of this rich city. It was full of wealth in every direction – high end shops, Lamborghini's, yachts, the best dressed locals, $9 Starbucks, $5 coca-cola’s, original cobblestone streets, doors fit for a king, and hand-crafted-special-ingredient chocolate. My god, was the chocolate good. I mean there is a reason it’s a Swiss trademark.

After visiting Treille, the longest wooden bench in the world, and drinking a glass of wine in the middle of the street, we found ourselves sampling the world’s best chocolate from Sweetzerland. We walked away with the most expensive box of truffles and decided to get a cup of tea to go along with it. Well, tea for me, beer for Mr. B.  I am still trying to find a way to have their chocolate specially shipped to the Bores Quarters. So Chocolat Master, if you're reading, I BEG YOU TO SHIP TO THE US. Pretty please. 

Aside from the chocolate, we had our favorite meal in this busy city. We were looking for something low key and relatively quick. We learned the Swiss eat late and they most definitely don’t rush their meals. On average, a restaurant experience lasted 2 hours and frankly that wasn’t something our tired eyes could handle that day. As we walked down the street, we found ourselves walking into an empty Italian style place that was warmed by the heat of a brick oven. Although our server spoke a broken English and required quite a few hand signs, he fed us some of the best Italian food we’ve ever eaten. We were in such a food coma, it completely slipped my mind to take a photo or write down the name of the place. #touristfail

What we did capture though, was Jet d'Eau, which is one of Geneva's most famous landmarks and directly across the street from the said Italian restaurant. Frankly, I was more entranced with the swans than I was with the fountain. All I needed was a canoe and a Noah Scott and I would have been in Notebook heaven. I digress. 

We gawked some more on our walk back to the apartment and fell asleep listening to the hustle and bustle of the Geneva streets.

By sunrise the next morning, we were off to Ireland to drive countryside, meet our friends, and cheer on our alma mater! WE ARE!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Monty Monday

My brother spent the last 28 hours in his car, driving from central Pennsylvania to northern Colorado. I wish his time here were to spend it with us, but instead he's here to spend the winter working in the Rockies. All this means is I am one step close to getting my family in the West! And really it's probably better that he isn't moving in with me, because I am sure a week into his messy habits, I would be sending him back to PA.

Before he begins training, he is spending the night at the Bores Quarters with me and Monty G. To say Monty is obsessed with his Uncle would be an understatement. He was immediately tugging on his jacket the second Chad walked in the door, giving him unstuffed toys to play with, and following his every move.

Chad keeps saying on repeat, "I am so glad I am not driving right now."

He's off to get a good nights rest, with Monty at his feet, I am sure. 
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