Tuesday, December 24, 2013

magic

Bores Christmas Card 2013


We've been up since 5:45 this morning. We're grown adults, yet still get so excited about Christmas Eve. Monty has already been snooping under the tree this morning, while Mr. B is snuggled next to the fireplace watching a "feel-good" Christmas movie on the Hallmark channel.   

There is a magic and warmth that comes with this day each year. 

I was wrapping a few presents the other night when Mr. B looked at me and said, "I am excited for kids one day and the magic that comes with Christmas Eve." I agreed, yet didn't realize that growing up Santa visited the Bores house on Christmas Eve(ning) while they were at church. Scott and his dad would sit in the car and wait for mom to "finish doing her hair" before they were off to hold candle sticks and sing Silent Night. They'd return home to an empty glass of milk, a few cookie crumbles and presents lying under the tree. He said it was magical.

***

While holding your lit candle sticks this evening, may we all imagine the real reason we celebrate this season. 

"Silent night, Holy night. All is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin , mother and child. Holy infant so, tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night, Holy night. Shepherds quake, at the sight. Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah. Christ the Savior is born." 

When I moved to Colorado 4 years ago, I realized I didn't have a nativity set. I searched high and low for a manger that had a "removable" baby Jesus. There is just a sense of excitement I get on Christmas morning when I finally get to put the little porcelain baby in the manger and whisper, "Happy birthday Baby Jesus." 


From our house to yours, we wish you the most magical Christmas. Although missing my family this year, we will be celebrating our Annual Bores Christmas sleepover at my in-laws. There will be spilled wine, crab legs, dart game competitions, and loads of laughs. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Meet Forest

Some days I wonder if I was a Mrs. Claus in a past life.

Every single year on November 1st, I scroll through my iTunes playlists to find my Christmas Favorites. It's something I have been doing for years - I completely remove myself from societies hit songs on the radio and opt for Christmas tunes instead. With the smell of a holiday air freshener hanging around my review mirror and the sound of Amy Grant coming out of the speakers - it's like I am in a snow globe or department store every time I travel down the interstate. On the flip side, November 1st is a little early for most, including the man I married. He threatens to throw my Christmas CDs out the window every time he gets in my car and may actually divorce me if I purchase another Christmas album. How many versions of Silent Night can there really be?

He's the Grinch in our house, while I am all Cindy Lou Who over here, trying to get his heart to grow just a little each day. I exaggerate. Just a tad. He really does love Christmas, he just doesn't agree with listening to Christmas music two months in advance and doesn't actually join in the spirit until one week before. Not twelve days, or ten days, or even eight days, but literally seven days before. In fact, I tried to convince him to watch "A Miracle on 34th Street" Sunday night and he said, "It's not the week before Christmas." I replied, "Yes it is." He corrected me, "On Tuesday it will be." I grimaced, "Fine! I guess I can wait 2 more days."

However, he and my brother did string one strand of Christmas lights outside, which is great, but I'd love a Clark Gris Boreswold around here. Ya know, our tree in the front yard would really look great with some twinkly lights too, along with the porch railing and maybe some wreaths in the front windows? Definitely not one of those blow up enormous Santa's though. Gosh, I want to pop every single one in the neighborhood. Maybe the Grinch I live with is rubbing off on me? Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas lights - but a tasteful amount. I can guarantee NO ONE wants to see 15 Santa's, Winnie the Pooh's, Mickey Mouse's, Snowmen and Charlie Brown's blown up in a yard the size of my bedroom. You can stroll the aisles at Walmart and Lowes if you want to show your kids that madness.

I may retract that statement when I have Bores babies. Just maybe.



**

Anyway, I would like to introduce Forest Bores. Find it odd that I name my tree? Don't judge. It's just a little something I like to do. I grew up with an artificial tree and never had a real one until I moved to Colorado. Our Christmas Tree Hunt is now one of my favorite days of the year. It's a holiday in my book, hence why I capitalized the letters. The last 4 years we have found our trees at the local nursery or off a milk truck hauling trees in from Wisconsin. True story.

This year Mr. B convinced me to hike into the National Forest and cut down our very own Charlie Brown tree. I finally gave in - not because I wanted a Charlie Brown tree, but because I knew the experience would be totally worth it.

We headed towards the mountains the Saturday after Thanksgiving, hauling two car loads of people - my family, my brothers girlfriend, a great friend from Oregon (also, another Grinch!) and Monty of course. We parked the cars and realized we didn't need the snowshoes we packed or the layers of clothes we brought with us. It was the most beautiful winter day and we were off to find the perfect spruce.


My Mama and her Kiddos
Grinch #2

We gathered around a few different trees discussing the limbs, the height, and sparse-ness. Then finally settled on the second one we had picked. It was definitely sparse, but it was tall and slim. Exactly what we had in mind.

My brother had been talking about cutting down a tree for weeks at this point. He came prepared and even dressed the part. He had done research in advance on the proper way to cut down a tree. So there we were, with our knees in the snow, cutting a V-shaped notch. I am far from a lumberjack, and learned pretty quickly that you should not cut straight across and then yell TIMBER. That's only in cartoons. The whole cutting down process took about 4 minutes, before Forest was lying sideways in the snow. We picked it up, snapped a few photos and then threw it in the bed of the truck.

Notchin'
The Gang


Haulin'
Pretending they Snow-Shoed

We hauled the tree home, brought it in the house, trimmed a foot off the bottom, debated having a star or not, and then got to trimming the following day.

Little did I know, this would be my favorite Bores tree yet.

Forest Bores, 2013
Elvis - it represents the love my dad had for the King
Camp Bores Ornaments - hand made by Mrs. B
Tutorial Here
Stockings hung by the fire with care...

There is a little glimpse of what is going on in the Bores House this Christmas.

May your heart grow three times it's size this week. I know I will be soaking up each and every minute, starting today. It's exactly one week before Christmas, so maybe Mr. B will actually stop threatening to toss my Christmas CD's out the window and be willing to snuggle and watch dear little Susan Walker become a believer.

In the mean time, you can watch my terrible attempt at lighting Forest [at the 0:25 mark]. I had no idea which end of the strand you start with and obviously chose the wrong one. That responsibility will go back to Mr. B next year.



Trimming the Tree

from Scott Bores on Vimeo.

Meet Nordman, our 2012 Christmas Tree. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

memory

My moms dad - Pappy Ferry - was one of the greatest story tellers of all time. I am not just saying that because he was my grandfather, but because his stories were always engaging, mostly honest, usually funny, sometimes sad, and often exaggerated. Yet they made you want to retell the them to everyone you knew. It didn't matter what topic you brought up to him, he had an experience or story to tell about his life that related. He could remember dates of events as if it happened the day before and people's names that he may have only met once. Every detail of his life made an permanent imprint on his memory - it was incredible.

The problem - my memory isn't nearly as sharp. In fact, I often think my brain is on the verge of Alzheimer's.

So with that, I really need to start writing down the memories I have of loved ones lost. At the rate I am going, I will forget all of the details of my life by the time my future children and grandchildren are around asking me what I wore to prom, stories about my first job, and where Mr. B and I went on our first date. It was Chili's right? And then a movie? One with Adam Sandler. What was the name? Reign On Me? Err...Reign Over Me? Yeah, it was awful, that's all I remember. So bad, it was the only movie we ever walked out on. Ever. Anyway, I digress. The point is, I want Mr. B to have something to read to me when my mind is old and I really do have Alzheimer's. Ya know, Notebook style.

***

My brother text me recently and said, "Ever eat an orange and think of California? I just did." My brother and I rarely share lengthy dialogue over the phone and our text history is full of random thoughts. This particular text wasn't any more random than the others he has sent, but the timing couldn't have been better. I had just purchased a bag of orange cuties on Sunday and everyday this week Mr. B has asked me to peel two for his lunch. He claims he doesn't know how to peel them, but I blame his ignorance on laziness. Being the nice wife that I am, I do it - but it's mostly because oranges make me think of more than California. They make me think of my Pappy Steinbugl. My dads dad, not the story teller I mentioned above.

We spent the Christmas of my fifth grade year in California. My dad's second cousin lives in a gorgeous house just north of San Diego, where we stayed for two weeks. We hugged Goofy in Disneyland, waved to the pandas at the San Diego Zoo, rode the old-school elevator at Hotel Del Coronado and dipped our toes in the freezing cold Pacific. Despite all of those happy places, one simple memory from that trip stands out from the others - picking oranges with my grandfather. The row of orange trees was only a short walk from the house and we visited that row a few times over that two week stay. We'd take a bag with us and fill it with blood oranges - an orange variety with a crimson flesh. He would peel one for us to eat on our walk back and then reward us with another when we made it back to the house.

Grandparents go hand-in-hand. I can't think of one without the other. So while I have been thinking a lot of my grandfather this week, I've also been thinking about my grandma as well. She was a short Italian woman - 4'11" to be exact - who loved the color purple and kept a hanky tucked in her watch band. She drank cherry 7-UP with a straw and always had raisin cookies in her cookie jar. She had a gentle heart, yet wasn't afraid to discipline us when we were misbehaving. In her words, "I will give you a baccalà if you don't shape up."

In my mind, baccalà meant giving us a spank on the butt with the wooden spoon she kept next to the stove.

Well 27 years later, I decided to google it and learned something she never shared with us. Baccalà is Italian for dried salt cod, known in English as clipfish. In the old days, in Italian households, this dried out flattened fish was often used as a paddle for spankings.

A fish!! What! Grammy never told us the paddle she threatened to spank us with was going to be a cold, hard fish.

I am wishing all of my grandparents were here today - one to share stories with, one to eat oranges with and one to share the meanings behind all of the other Italian words she used.

Instead, all I have are memories of them. Memories I am fortunate to have and happy to share. Isn't it funny the things your brain chooses to remember?

Grammy and Pappy Steinbugl
2007

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Look for Love

I'm sad. I woke up crying today and will probably go to bed sobbing into my pillow or in Mr. B's armpit. My family left today after visiting for the last ten days. It has been 4 years and 167 days since I moved to Colorado, but it never seems to get easier saying goodbye. I try to tell myself and convince my mother that it does, but who am I kidding. I sob every.single.time. For days. Thank God I have a husband who is patient and gentle when I am sad.

While I sit here surrounded in tissues and crinkled up toilet paper on my desk, I decided I would attempt to type between my blurred vision and reminisce on a few memories from the last week.

Mr. B and I love hosting visitors and always try to show them new places when they come to town. So a week before my mom and brother arrived we decided to book a hotel room at Glenwood Springs. The hot springs were steaming from the 104 degree water, while the temperature outside was just above freezing. We walked around town, played pool at Doc Holidays bar, got a tour of the Molly Brown suite at Hotel Colorado, dove off a spring board, tolerated the boys after multiple Old Fashion cocktails, and splashed our faces while sitting in vapor caves that were 120 degrees. It may be a good detox for your body, but it's terrible for your skin.

To be honest, there are so many "had-to-be-there" moments with my mom this trip. It would take me days to type them all out and frankly they would never be as funny as the real moment. But lets just say, don't ever take her in a dark room where men are meditating, unless you want her scream to wake the dead, or argue with her about a painting of Missy Franklin, she will call you stupid if you do.


The View from the Bell Tower off of Molly Brown's room - Hotel Colorado
Hot Spring

We made a mess in the kitchen 157463 times a day. My brother loves to cook, but hates cleaning the dishes. Don't we all? Not moms! I swear my mom had a dish rag in her hand every time she was in the kitchen, and never complained once. It took us hours to roll out and bake dozens upon dozens of sugar cookies. Yet only took us ten minutes to icing them. Let's just say we will never be professional bakers. I also learned a new family recipe that I made my brother teach me before he left - chicken salad. While he may be good in the kitchen, he learned first hand, that his sister is not. In fact, he no longer trusts me with a hand mixer or the garbage disposal.

Trashing the Kitchen

Thanksgiving was full of everything it is supposed to be - watching the parade with a mimosa in hand, black friday ads strewed all over the living room floor, the smell of pumpkin pie coming from the kitchen, football on the TV all afternoon, a deep fryer sizzling a 20lb turkey and a table full of food, stories and laughter. The laughs started the second I offered to say Grace. I bowed my head and said "Bless me Father for I have sinned...." By the time my brain connected with what was coming out of my mouth, the rest of the table had already burst into laughter. Maybe that is a sign I should be visiting a confessional sometime soon. All I know is, next year someone else will be saying Grace.

Safety First
"Bless me Father for I have sinned..."

There is so much more to share, including the story of Forest - our 10 foot Charlie Brown tree, hand cut from the middle of the National Forest. But I am going to clean up my tissues and go snuggle with the other sad one in the house - Monty. He's been depressed since the moment they started packing their suitcases.

Real quick, I had a sick feeling in my stomach all morning, knowing that they had to leave and we'd be left with a quiet house tonight. However, just before heading to the airport my brother looked at me and said, "I can't wait to look for love when we get there." He watched the movie Love Actually for the first time on Sunday, which is where his comment stemmed from. It's a favorite in the Bores house and his comment was a good reminder that despite the distance the separates me from my family, love always makes you feel better, even when your heart is feeling sad. Believe it or not, love actually is all around - with family, friends, and strangers. Look for it.
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