Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013

Aunie Sauce 2013

When 2013 rolled around the corner, I thought I had just experienced my best year ever—2012. It was a pretty awesome year. And then 2013 hit me with a fierceness that swept me off my feet for a wild ride... and I enjoyed every minute of it. Here were some of the biggest highlights:
  1. I flew to San Francisco in January to begin my 6-month adventure as the Yes To Stylista with Yes To, Inc.
  2. I got baptized in February.
  3. I went from my natural dark blonde to brunette in March, and then switched it up again in August when I cut off 12 inches and donated it to charity.
  4. Daniel & I took several vacations, including trips to: Palm Desert, Whidbey Island & Seattle, McCall, and even went camping for the first time!
  5. I ran 4 races with my mom, including: the Famous Idaho Potato Half Marathon, the Sawtooth Relay, the City of Trees Marathon (my first full marathon!), and the Zeitgeist Half Marathon.
  6. Daniel and I bought a house in September.
  7. I joined the Idaho Air National Guard in November.
2013, thank you. In the time I knew you, I grew so much as a person... more than I ever thought possible. You brought me trials & tears, success, happiness, and some of my favorite memories. 2013—what a year.

2014... see you tomorrow. Happy New Year's Eve!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude

Gratitude

Gratitude. That word has been sitting so heavily on me lately... not like a heavy weigh-me-down load, but a burden that is burning within me to express more often.

For Christmas this year, one of the gifts I received was a Gratitude Journal from my mom. I thought this gift was so thoughtful. Mom knows how much I love to write, and some things are best to be written just for yourself—so this little journal is the perfect spot to do it. And maybe it's just me, but every time I've ever kept a journal or diary, I've always written when I've felt down in the dumps and they end up filled with negative things & complaint after complaint. The Gratitude Journal is different... it's meant to be filled simply with things you're grateful for, little beautiful things you find in your day, and moments you want to jot down and remember—it's all meant to be positive and uplifting. I love it so far—I've written small entries each day since Christmas, and already I know that this will be the place where I flip through and read when I'm having a hard day or need a little pick-me-up.

This small journal has made me look at things a little bit differently lately. I'm appreciating the smallest things. I'm noticing things I hadn't noticed before and really taking the time to enjoy it all. I know that the words grateful, blessed & thankful are said around here all too often... but I don't think that being too grateful is ever something I'll feel bad about. As 2014 approaches, I know there are going to be some big, big changes coming my way. And through it all, I'll hold the blessings close to my heart and truly be grateful for each day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Joy to the World

Daniel and Annelise Rowe

The only thing better than Christmas, to me, are all the days that surround it. Family all together, joyous times to be had... it's just a jolly celebration around the Rowe & Driflot households.

Over the past several days, we were blessed with the generosity of our families... they are far too nice to us sometimes! We also ate the most delicious food, including Cincinnati chili at my dad's on Christmas eve, eggs Benedict at my mom's on Christmas morning, and ham and green bean casserole at Daniel's parents on Christmas evening. Our bellies were full and our hearts were happy. I'm so grateful for all of our families... they make this life so special.

Hope you all had a joyous Christmas celebration. Sending out lots of love today!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Tidings of Great Joy Christmas Card, Merry Christmas! Rowe Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas! This is our 2013 Christmas card... I can't wait to gather these over the years & display them in a lovely little Christmas album. My family's tradition was to take photos with Santa each year (this was our 28th year!). Daniel & I are starting our own tradition with our little 5x7 Christmas cards. It's one of our favorite holiday pastimes to browse through our Christmas album and talk about the outfits, the photos, the memories—oh, the memories! Here's to new memories in the making...

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Love ♥ The Rowe's

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cheer

Striped sweatshirt and Christmas lights

Do you know what I love about this time of year—the "holidays?" The cheer—I just soak it in like no other. The warm smiles, the friendly embraces, the holiday well-wishes and Merry Christmases and handshakes and hugs. I just love it all.

This is the time of year when so many people come under such stress to find that perfect gift or get in over their heads with worrying too much about the Hallmark holidays we've come to know. I, however, find this season so beautiful. The gift-giving is such a non-existent stress to me... it's not about the presents, it's about the love shared with family, the time spent together, and the promise of life, a savior, and blessings to come.

Merry Christmas, my friends. Sending you all some Christmas cheer, and wishing you a week of grace, thankfulness, splendor, and joy. It's a wonderful life, isn't it?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas at the Rowe House

Rustic Christmas Decor, lit Christmas garland

Our home is all decorated for Christmas. A nativity scene, a Christmas tree, lit garland, reindeer, candles and a poinsettia... oh, and lots and lots of joy to share! It's simple, it's rustic, and it's home.

Rustic Christmas Decor
Rustic Christmas Decor
Christmas Tree Pillow: Rustic Living
Rustic Christmas Decor
Rustic Christmas Decor, Christmas Tree with Blue and Silver Ornaments
Rustic Christmas Decor, Classic Nativity Scene
Rustic Christmas Decor, Blue Glitter Ornament
Rustic Christmas Decor
Rustic Christmas Decor, Snowflake Ornament
Rustic Christmas Decor, Lit Christmas Tree

I think this year it might just stay Christmastime at the Rowe House all year long.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Air Force BMT Fitness Standards

Air Force Basic Training Female Fitness Standards

Last time I mentioned my fitness routine and talked about how I was switching it up from just running to getting back into the gym, I didn't include the fact that I was joining the Air National Guard the next day. So yeah, little detail... I kind of left it out. Anyway, the biggest reason why I've backed off from the long-distance running—besides for trying to heal my body after the marathon two months ago—is to get better in shape for Basic Military Training (BMT). In Basic, it's not just running—it's push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, squats, flutter kicks, calisthenics, sprints, obstacle courses, and exercises that I don't even have any idea about... I have to be ready for anything.

Down at BMT, before you are able to graduate, you must perform a fitness test. There are three levels you can achieve, the Liberator (the minimum graduation requirements), the Thunderbolt (honor graduate minimum standards), and the Warhawk (the highest fitness standard). If you guessed I'd go for the Warhawk, you would be correct. Here's a breakdown of the standards you have to meet for each category (as of 18 July 2014).

Air Force Basic Training Male Fitness Standards, Male BMT Fitness Standards

Air Force Basic Training Female Fitness Standards, Female BMT Fitness Standards

This past Saturday, I put myself to the test, doing the push-ups & sit-ups inside, and then heading outdoors for the run—I had to run in the snow and it was cold and icy! I was able to do 55 push-ups, 65 sit-ups, and I finished my run in 10:53 (I did the pull-ups at the gym last week and was able to get 4). One thing is for certain, I may be right on the bubble of the Warhawk standards—but I need to keep working hard to maintain these numbers and decrease my run time! I am very excited that I have this measurement guide to train towards, because it's giving me some good inspiration to get in the best Basic Training shape possible.

At the gym, I've been mixing it up each day. I tend to stick to more high-intensity workouts that involve each of the above exercises, as well as jumping rope, jump squats, lunges, mountain climbers, burpees (and burpee pull-ups!), triceps dips, planks, crunches, and honestly... anything I can think of. It changes every time.

I'm looking at these fitness standards like any other goal I've set for myself. Train, train, train and make it happen.

/ / UPDATE:
  • As of February 12, 2014, I can now do 50 push-ups (my number is less but my form is better!), 60 sit-ups, my run time is 10:13, and I can now do 10 pull-ups. Little by little, I'm improving!
  • As of March 2, 2014, I tested and completed 46 push-ups, 66 sit-ups, my run time is 10:00, and I achieved 6 pull-ups.
  • As of April 6, 2014, I tested at Student Flight and completed 43 push-ups, 62 sit-ups, my run time is 9:32, and I can now do 10 pull-ups. Basic Training, here we come!

/ / POST BMT UPDATE:
  • I ended up finishing BMT with PT scores of: 54 pull-ups, 68 sit-ups, 7 pull-ups, and a run time of 8:42—BMT's 5th fastest female time in their history! I achieved Warhawk and the Top PT award. It was an honor! You can read more about my final PT scores and the Top PT award here!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Stripes

Blue and Gray Striped Sweater, Short Bob Hair Cut
Sweater: c/o Surfdome, Undershirt: Nikibiki, Jeans: Express, Shoes: Converse
Blue Striped Sweater and Skinny Jeans
Blue and Gray Striped Sweater, Short Bob Hair Cut
Converse All-Stars, Chuck Taylor Shoes
Blue and Gray Striped Sweater, Short Bob Hair Cut

Nothing gets me in the winter & Christmas mood like snow on the ground, stringing up the Christmas lights (we decorated three whole bushes—woo hoo), and a winter-blue striped sweatshirt (Surfdome has tons of great deals right now, by the way!). I love this time of year.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Life Doesn't Look Like Pinterest.

Life Doesn't Look Like Pinterest, floral wedding display

Sometimes, I just get fed up with it all. "It" being the competition, the desire for perfection, the living in—or faking—a completely disjointed reality. Real life is so much better than that.

I read a great post yesterday by a friend who said she occasionally takes complete breaks from social networking because of feelings of jealousy. Her post made me think. It made me look at the things I spend my some of my free time doing—reading blogs, scanning Instagram, checking in on Facebook and Twitter. And sometimes, just like she does, I take significant breaks from checking in or reading any of that—because it just gets overwhelming.

These days, it seems like everyone has a house that is decorated as fit for Pinterest. I feel like when I see home tours that I'm looking at some intricate model home that doesn't even look cozy to me. It looks so... void of warmth. Maybe I'm different because I want over-sized blankets that don't always have to be in the right spot, or I want a giant comfy couch that might not be so pretty in pictures. I don't care about the pictures. I just want a cozy house.

These days, it seems like everyone is a fashion blogger. Sure, I have my fair share of "style" posts... but I don't pretend like I'm a model... I'm just me and you get to see what I wear occasionally. In a way, it seems like blogging has turned into a way for girls to be that model that they always wanted to be. And that's pretty neat... someone who may not have been signed by Wilhelmina sure may turn heads in the blogging world. But honestly, it's just a little much sometimes.

These days, it seems like everything is about perfection. About being Pinterest-perfect. About what looks good. About what will become the most viral, most viewed, or most cried over (all the YouTube/flash mob wedding proposals, anyone?). But it's not real. I suppose this rant is to say that if you do find yourself comparing yourself to something you see in photos or writing, stop it right this minute. I promise you—after the photos are taken—that the cat hair and dust begins to accumulate, that the clothes get piled up on the floor in the closet, and that the perfect outfit is usually taken right off and replaced by jeans and flats. Life is different for each single person, so please—please—give yourself credit and know that your life is beautiful even if it hasn't gone viral. And I promise you, the real lives don't look like Pinterest.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread Houses

Saturday evening, we got together with my family for our annual gingerbread house decorating contest. If you've been reading for a while, you know that we like contests... we are just so competitive (we went all-out with our pumpkin carving this year!). After the hours of decorating, houses falling over, projects failing, some pretty neat design ideas, and making our houses out of every edible thing we could find, we published the results on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and asked for you to vote. The clear stand-out from the bunch this year was the house on the top left, with its intricate details and stained glass windows. Second place was awarded to the church on the bottom left, third place went to the candy-coated house on the top right, and fourth place went to the classic cottage on the bottom right.

Want to know who did each one? Stephen, mom's boyfriend, had the top left intricate house, Mom had the top right candy-coated house, I had the bottom left church, and Daniel had the bottom right classic Christmas cottage. You can see a little more of the detail of each house below.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread House with Stained Glass Windows

Stephen's house, the intricate cottage, had so much attention to detail. From the pinto beans lining the walkway and arches, to the stained glass windows made of Fruit Roll-Ups. His house was very cute and looked like a little North End (if you're from Boise) home.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread House Christmas Tree and Firepit

Mom's candy-coated house had so much detail! She began with the licorice and candy cane balcony, and added the fun ice cream cone Christmas tree. Do you see her neat fire pit? It was made from melted Jolly Ranchers!

Gingerbread Train

This gingerbread train was the creation of Stephen's sister and her son. They opted not to do a house but instead put this adorable choo-choo train together, complete with a marshmallow conductor and all!

Gingerbread House, Classic Gingerbread House

Daniel's classic Christmas cottage was my favorite of the bunch. It was simple and I loved the snow-lined roof. His wreath over the front door was adorable, and I love the front entryway. It's simple and he did a great job with it.

Gingerbread House, Gingerbread Church House

My "house" this year ended up being a church (of sorts) instead. I just knew I wanted a steeple and icicles. Next time, I'm borrowing Stephen's Fruit Roll-Up stained glass idea. That would have been the perfect touch!

And in case you're curious, here's a photos of the house I did two years ago...

Gingerbread House, Classic Gingerbread House with Santa and Reindeer, Gumdrop Tree

I think I hit my creative peak that year with the Charleston Chew reindeer and gumdrop tree. Needless to say, you can imagine who won the contest that year!

Thanks again to everyone who voted for our houses. We always have the most fun sitting around the kitchen table for hours—literally, hours—creating these little cookie and candy masterpieces. While we were decorating, I made the mistake of mentioning that I "didn't enjoy this contest," and simply I think I said it because it takes so much time, but in reality, it is so fun to get together and watch each other's minds work. It's still one of my favorite holiday traditions, and Mom—yes, Mom!—I do hope we do it again next year. Thanks for all your hard work in getting everything together for this!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My First Air National Guard Drill Weekend & Student Flight

Idaho Air Force, Idaho Air National Guard, Drill Weekend Student Flight, 124 Fighter Wing

This weekend was my first Air Guard drill weekend (I enlisted November 27), and my first Student Flight! Going in, I had no idea what to expect, but I made it through (it wasn't bad at all) and learned a few lessons because of it.

If you're unfamiliar with the Air National Guard, once a month they have a UTA (Uniform Training Assembly) a.k.a. "drill weekend" where everyone is expected to come out and serve two workdays out in their unit. For me, my AFSC (job) is Personnel, so I am expected to go work two full days out in the Personnel office, performing whatever duties they need me to get done. Each unit has several full-time staff (either AGR or Technicians) and they are also there on these weekends.

Since I haven't gone through Basic Military Training (BMT) or Tech School yet, drill weekends are optional. Since Daniel's out at the base, I figured I may as well go in, too—plus, I get paid to be there—so it's a total win/win.

For those of us who have enlisted but haven't been through training, they have a program called Student Flight, which is intended to help prepare new airmen for BMT. Student Flight, in my opinion, is awesome. You sit in a classroom and receive instruction from several different people, and occasionally there are also BIT's (people who are on a "break in training" between BMT and Tech School) there who have recently gotten back from Basic Training and are there to answer any and all questions you may have. These Airmen are like gold because Basic is so fresh in their minds—so if you have a BIT who is willing to answer questions, give them all you've got!

Over the past two days, I learned all about rank, pay grades, insignias, how to sit at attention and say the basic reporting statement, how to roll t-shirts, roll socks, fold towels, make a bed, march in formation, said "Sir" and "Ma'am" more times than I could count, and did push-up after push-up. My favorite part of Student Flight was the physical training, and next month we are expected to take the full PT test with the 1.5 mile run, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. We didn't have a chance to do the PT test this time, due to the fact that Boise dumped several inches of snow on us this weekend, so instead we squatted and lunged our way through a P90X workout—which I still loved!

If you're in the Air Guard and are going to be going to Student Flight, here are a couple pointers:
  • Wear comfortable clothing! You will be doing push-ups and flutter kicks throughout the day in whatever you wear, so make sure you can move in it. I recommend (though it's not the most attractive combination, in my opinion) athletic shoes, jeans (without holes!), a plain crew-neck t-shirt, and a belt to tuck it in. Typically, Student Flight will assign you with a t-shirt, but in the off chance that they don't have any on hand, make sure you're in a t-shirt that you can do push-ups in. 
  • Females need to wear their hair up, and men need to be clean-shaven and with a neat, short haircut. They're not a fan of shaggy 'do's. 
  • As far as PT gear goes, bring a t-shirt, shorts or pants (or capris for the women), your workout shoes (most people in my Student Flight wore their PT shoes all day) and extra cold-weather gear if you're going outside in the winter.
  • Bring a notebook with paper for notes and a blue or black pen.

As far as additional pointers, even though this isn't BMT yet, they want to get you ready for it so they will yell at you. They will make you do push-ups if you don't give the reporting statement correctly or back-talk the instructors—or for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They will test you and push you and challenge you—because they want you to be absolutely READY when you leave for Basic Training. Trust me, take the time while in Student Flight to learn and soak it all in. It's so much better to make a mistake right there where you can be corrected versus at BMT where an MTI (Military Training Instructor) will rip you to shreds.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience this weekend at Student Flight. I learned so much and even made some new friends! I'm looking forward to next month (and probably several more after that) that I will be attending before I leave for Basic. I don't have dates quite yet, but I know it could be anytime between March (if I'm lucky) and August... so we'll see as it comes.

Thanks for all your support in this new venture. It's such an honor to be able to serve our country with the Air National Guard!

See my other Air National Guard Student Flight experiences here: UTA 1 │ UTA 2 │ UTA 3UTA 4 │ UTA 5

Friday, December 6, 2013

Insecurities.

Insecurities about infidelity in marriage, Sapphire Wedding Ring

I am a liar and creator of evil thoughts. It's true. And the only person I hurt is myself.

For completely unfounded reasons, I create thoughts and ideas in my head about infidelity, distrust, suspicion, doubt. Nothing has ever been done to me that would substantiate a reason for these thoughts—though my own actions and hurt I've caused others is what I believe to be the primary reason for it.

It's sad. These thoughts—and often terrifying nightmares that wake me up in tears and cold sweats—are debilitating. They come on at a moment's notice, ruining my kind and carefree spirit. They send me into panic mode, creating the desire to snoop and see if there's anything underneath the surface that could be going on without my knowledge. It's so sad. I have distrust and it's so incredibly unfounded.

I get emotional as I write this. It's something that as I write, I want to hit "delete" and push under the rug—it's there but I don't want anyone else to see it. It's embarrassing. As a woman of faith, I shouldn't struggle with these things, I shouldn't let myself be so vulnerable. My mind—a filthy place—is so cluttered with these horrible thoughts, and there's no reason for it. I know these thoughts don't come from a good place. They're insecurities that I struggle with often—even today as I type this.

As often as I've debated putting this insecurity out there and broadcasting it to the entire internet, I suppose I have a hopeful intention with it. So often, I've blogged about my troubles in the past. My trichotillomania... that only got better after I wrote it all down and put myself out there—so I'm crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that bringing this insecurity out from it's hiding spot will help me in the long run. I'm not weak. I'm not helpless. And I'm tired of letting these destructive thoughts control me and make me feel weak and helpless.

I've made so many decisions lately, like joining the Air National Guard, where I know I'll put myself in an emotionally vulnerable spot and won't be able to see Daniel for several months while I'm away at training—and the hope is that it will make a stronger person. He is an amazing man, and I'm not giving him the credit, respect or honor he deserves.

So there it is. The lies I tell myself. The fear of it happening to me. The biggest insecurities that get me down and crush my spirit day after day.

Not anymore.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cold Winter, Warm Heart

frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho
frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho
frozen waterfall, winter in Idaho

A chill in the air,
a bite with every breath.
Snow scatters the streets,
the ground crunches under every step.

Bundled in layers,
still chilled to the bone.
Wandering through the town,
everything frozen as stone.

Streaks of sunlight peak through the clouds,
a beautiful morning about to start.
Cold fingers, cold hands, cold nose, cold toes.
Grateful for an always-warm heart.

an original poem - 12.5.13

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

McCall Anniversary Trip

Shore Lodge McCall Idaho

This last weekend, Daniel and I escaped Boise and headed two hours north to McCall, Idaho, our favorite getaway spot. Last year, we spent our honeymoon in McCall at the Shore Lodge, so for our first anniversary this last Sunday, we thought it would be fun to go spend a couple nights away—just the two of us.

We sipped hot cocoa every chance we could get, dined at some of our favorite McCall spots (Steamers, Paradise Burger, Growler's, Stacey Cakes, and of course—The Pancake House), watched football while overlooking the lake, warmed up in their lakeside hot tub under the icy rain, battled at the Foosball table, and even watched a few movies! It was a wonderful anniversary celebration.

Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Growlers Pizza McCall Idaho
Growlers Pizza McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho
Stacey Cakes McCall Idaho
Shore Lodge McCall Idaho

One year. Amazing. This is just the beginning!

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Joined the Air National Guard!

Idaho Air National Guard, 124 Fighter Wing, Air National Guard Enlistment

On Wednesday, November 27, 2013, while surrounded by my family and with my hand raised in front of the American flag, I enlisted in the Idaho Air National Guard. This decision has been a long time in the making, and officially--I did it.

This begins a whole new & HUGE chapter in our lives. Daniel, who is coming up on 11 years in the ANG, has been one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to join. The Guard has done wonderful things in his life (it brought him to Idaho!), and I'm ready to go with him hand-in-hand on this new venture.

Of course this means some big changes for me. I am going in as a traditional (weekend drills only), so I get to keep my full-time job at the hospital, which is just wonderful--it's like the best of both worlds! But, as you can assume, since I've joined the military, I will have to go away for some training. I don't know dates at this time, but I do know that the training involves spending 8 weeks at Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) in Texas, followed by another 6 weeks of tech school in Mississippi.

We are so excited for this, because we know it is the right thing for us and our future. For me, it's a whole new career set that I'll develop and that I couldn't get anywhere else. It's a wonderful addition to add to my resume, and I know it will help build me as a person. For Daniel and I, it is a step to help set up our future together. And, last but not least, I get to serve our country! This is such an amazing opportunity for us, and we are running fast after it with so much excitement. This is it! 

Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard
Idaho Air National Guard

We have been talking about this for such a long time, and I'm so excited that I finally did it. And it wasn't easy! The test to get in, the ASVAB, was a pickle (though I did end up scoring well, thank goodness). The 4-hour physical was another trial. Wading through the paperwork and the forms and the questions and the unknowns... it's all been a lot... but finally, I enlisted and this begins a whole new chapter. I'll be learning everything as I go--it's all new to me--taking in each moment, and loving this new opportunity that is going to bring great things. I'm just so excited.

If you have questions about the Guard, which I'm sure you will, please don't hesitate to ask them below. I hope you'll join us in our celebration of this new step & journey in our lives.

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