one good thing

Check out this website. Don't worry - You'll be glad you did
feel free to thank me later
Seriously - This lady's like a walking Pinterest. But better
no joke guys
You can follow her on Instagram, blogger, Facebook and or Twitter

As if her business cards aren't cute enough, right? Website's just as cute!


Orem Owls

Last weekend was a busy one. Between work, wedding, and mission reunion. AH!
There was just no time for it all. Jake second guessed the reunion
He knew we wouldn't leave my friend's wedding reception in time to be in SL
Really- We couldn't justify gunning it up there, to catch the last hour
So, as we were getting ready for my friend (and old room mate's) reception...
...We get a phone call. From my friend (Tracie) who lives in Sandy
She had invited us to an Owls baseball game
I was pretty excited, as I hadn't seen her and her family since our wedding
Her little girl just turned one (in June), and I was dying to see her
So Jake told me we should ditch the reunion and go to the game
and that we did
Boy was I glad 'cuz we had so much fun! Isla made the game all the more interesting

unfortunately- this is the clearest photo I got

This little busy bee does not still still for one second. Not one
She even talks/yells the whole time too. It's hilarious! 

She has the world's longest eye lashes I've ever seen. She's gorgeous!

Tracie, I'm so glad you and E called us! It was so much fun and quite the random surprise to see you all! Your little family is so cute, and not so little anymore. Your little busy bee is growing up so fast, and you're expanding your family so it's not so little anymore! I can't wait to see you all again! Sunday dinner soon? We'll drive up to Sandy (any weekend) and watch Isla(any time) while you and E have some alone time, away from the house. Please call us soon! I'm dying to see your little bee again. She's very entertaining! It's always nice seeing you and E too of course :) Your future babysitters are anxiously waiting :)


Utah County Fair

Last weekend my cute little hubster asked me on a date... To a fair :)
definitely something different and out of the ordinary for us
I knew I'd be pretty excited about taking pictures. Fairs are full of opportunity
I was pretty excited to take my camera and not use my iPhone for once
There's so many lights and so much movement. Always
just the perfect picture opportunity everywhere 
I'm a huge fan of waiting 'til dusk to take pictures of the bright lights. Love it

We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the animals. Jake especially
kinda cute
We went to the rodeo and walked through all the exhibits too. So much talent
We looked at everything from food to quilts and paintings. Collections too!
My favorite= The photography section
I've decided I want to enter in a photography contest. Who cares if I win
I just wanna do it. I think it'd be fun :)

The Utah County Fair was kinda small, but it was nice. Pretty fun date!

Might I add- I'm kinda likin this black & white photo below

Sometimes it's just nice to do things out of the ordinary, and not be a part of such a routine. We're both creature of habit, so it's real easy for us to always go to the same restaurant, order the same thing, etc. We're pretty routine people during the week, so our weekends tend to require some creativity :) Jake's a lot better at that than me, though. I can be creative, don't get me wrong, but a big part of me really likes to just stick to the norm. Why? I know I'll like that. No doubt about it. I really don't like trying new things, and weekends are my way of relaxing/taking a break from work. I never want to be disappointed or let down, on the weekends. Man- I really put the pressure on those two days! Last weekend sure was fun, though, and big props go to the hubster for asking me out. Takes great courage to ask out your woman :) What a fun Friday night :) 


Mark and Breanne's Wedding

Jake and I have been to quite a few weddings together
not just since we've been married, but since we've been together This goes back to when we were dating even. Our first wedding was last spring. 

Jake's old room mate (Mark) got married two weekends ago
I volunteered to throw a shower for her. Real last minute but real fun
I also went to one of her other showers and got to get to know her friends
It was really nice. I'm glad she invited me and that we have a friendship now :)

Her wedding colors were purple and yellow. So I stuck w/that theme for the shower
I made lemon cupcakes and bought purple cupcake holders. They had purple frosting too
I put them in these cute 'lil plastic holders and tied purple tulle around them

Okay, so sometimes I get a little too carried away with decorations
I made this "Bride To Be" banner for the shower and hung it in the kitchen 
We had a dessert/lingerie party and I had a buncha different treats goin on 
it was fun

We were invited to the sealing of Mark and Breanne
During all this time, I've been able to get to know Breanne and some of her friends
This is her really good friend Kati and her husband Reagan
They just got married in June and are so cute!
this photo was taken at the temple, while waiting for the happy couple to come out

And here they are. Mr. and Mrs. Mark Lyman
Saturday, August 4th, 2012
Mt. Timpanogos Temple

We were also invited to the dinner afterwards. They didn't have a reception
They just invited a select few and had a special dinner/small reception. 
It was so nice. Very relaxing and intimate. I loved it

Here are some pictures from the dinner, that was held at the JSM Bldg. 
PS- I loved being able to look out and see the temple where we were married :)

She had delicious cupcakes at the dinner. I love cupcakes!

Cutest decorations ever. So nice that she can put these in their home too!

Our friends Tim & Melissa (and their cute 'lil baby) sat with us
Jake and Tim used to live together when Jake and I were first dating in '09
We knew Tim & Melissa and would hang out w/them when they were first dating/engaged
So much fun being there w/their little guy. I miss having him over

first dance

We hope you enjoy the xbox we/everyone chipped in and got you! YAY
it's tradish

I was texting Breanne the week of the wedding, telling her I would be sure to look down and see the exact time the sealer pronounced them as Mr. and Mrs. and it came out to be the exact time of 12:14 pm, so I was sure to tell her that, when we first congratulated/hugged them after the ceremony.
We absolutely loved spending your special day with you. Thank you (again) for inviting us, and allowing us to be a part of this special memory (s). I can't wait for crafts and girls nights, and to get to know your friends better. We've already started planning a triple date w/Kati and her husband, so the three of us couples will have so much fun together! 



Two weekends ago, Jake and I picked up my youngest brother at the SLC airport
(Austin. Otherwise known as Bubba)
He flew in Saturday night and was headed to EFY at BYU for the next week
Jake and I decided to go up to Salt Lake early and make a date night out of it
We had dinner at our favorite restaurant (s) in Sandy
Jake always gets Chipotle, while I get Pei Way
Man I love Chinese food. I swear it's an addiction

After dinner, we hung out at The Gateway
Jake had never been to The Clark Planetarium, so we played around there for a bit
It was so much fun! Jake loved it
I took him to one of the laser light shows. We saw a U2 one
I had never seen that one before, so I was pretty excited!
Who doesn't like U2?!?!
the shows get better & better every time, and no one show is the same

Here's us on Mars at The Clark Planetarium before the show

Photo taken on my iPhone

While Bubba was here, we took him to see The Dark Night Rises
None of us had seen it yet, so we were all pretty excited
It was an awesome show! Maybe because we saw it in 4D!!!!!
The theaters in Thanksgiving Point, have what they call D-Boxes
I recommend it to everyone. It's a completely different show

We enjoyed having Austin here. We had Krispy Kreme donuts, while he was here, as well. That's one of his favorites. Jake had a little brother to hang out with, and I think they both enjoyed playing xbox together. We were sad to see him head back home to California next week, and aren't sure when we'll see him again. Maybe Christmas????? I dunno, but it was nice seeing him and The Himle's!!!! Well... Vicki and her daughter, Jodi at least. Thanx for meeting up w/us Himles. It was great seein ya!


Red Castle (Post by Jake)

This is an adventure almost 2 years in the making. It all started at the Walmart in Orem, Utah. I was there with my younger sister, Johannah. We were getting ready to check out & while walking past a stand of post cards, I saw a picture of Red Castle. That moment is when my obsession began. I started planning my hike to the magical place on the post card.

All of these photos were taken on my iPhone

This photo is base camp @ Lower Red Castle Lake. View from our tent. Second day

After a couple of failed attempts to get people committed to going, it finally happened. All it took was for my older brother Bryan to move to Utah. As soon as he got here, we made plans to take the hike around Pioneer Day. Finally- someone that would stick to the plan. I almost couldn't believe it! 

This photo is Lower Red Castle Lake

We left Orem on Friday the 20th of July just after noon. It was a bit of a drive up into Wyoming and then back down into Utah to get to the trail head. Just over 3 1/2 hours, but finally we had made it to China Lake. We had a goal to hike half the distance the first evening. We fell a bit short on that goal and only did about 3 of the 12 1/2 miles on Friday. We made camp just off the trail. We were hoping that it would not rain on us during the hike, but that would not be in the cards for us. It rained almost the entire time we were hiking. 

This photo is our view of Red Castle from our camp. Day two

We awoke the next morning, broke camp as fast as we could, and got on the trail. We made it a good distance before the rain began. I have never heard thunder more impressive in my life! It seemed to shake my entire body. Every time the thunder cracked, the hail would start. It hailed for over an hour so we took shelter under some trees and had our lunch. Nothing beats the flavor of a MRE. When the hail stopped we headed out to our final destination for the day. Lower Red Castle Lake was the place where we would make out base camp. 

All of the above pictures were taken from our base camp at Lower Red Castle Lake. The one immediately above is a picture of the valley that we had hiked out of. It was a hard hike in, and my legs were completely shot after the day of walking. If it were not for my brother and the competitive relationship that we have, I probably would not have made it that day. We set everything up as soon as we got to the lake, at the base of the mountain. As soon at the tent was up, the deluge started again, hail and all. We decided to go fishing that evening in the rain. The temperature dropped probably 15 or more degrees and it got cold. The fish did not want anything to do with us that evening, but that did not stop me from wanting to be on the shore with a line in the water until dark. 

The final day of our hike we chose to make our way up to Red Castle Lake. It is the largest and deepest natural lake in the Uinta Mountains. The hike up was beautiful. There were 3 plateaus that we had to climb to get there. The lake sits above 11,000 ft in elevation. There was still some glacial snow in various places. The water fall flowing out of Red Castle Lake can be seen in both pictures above and below. The pictures really do not capture the full beauty that I saw. 

Once we made it to the Red Castle Lake we wasted no time getting our fishing line in the water. The fishing is the biggest reason we took the hike and to this point we had not been able to bring a single fish in. We would not be disappointed with this lake. The fish were plentiful and the views were more than breath taking. The creek that flows out of the lake and to the waterfall, was filled with fish. There were so many, you could grab them with your hand. So I did a little bit of hill billy hand fishing. 

The dapper gentlemen in the picture above is my brother, Bryan. The fly fishing rod was a birthday present from me to me this year. I had never caught a fish with a fly rod in my entire 28 years of life. That would change at Red Castle Lake. 

I finally caught a fish with my fly rod. Make no mistake I am no pro with that frustrating piece of equipment. In fact, no technique was used at all to pull this gorgeous Bonneville Cutthroat trout out of the  water. I could see him hiding under a bush that was hanging over the water. So I hid behind the bush and dropped the fly right in front of him. He took the bait, and I jerked him out of the water! It was a proud moment for me.

We took a little break from fishing and walked over to the cliffs to look over the waterfall. You can't tell from the picture, but that was more than a 100 ft drop. I was standing pretty close to the edge when I took this picture. 

After we were done hanging out on the cliffs we returned to the fishing. I wish we would have taken more pictures of the fish we caught. I am just so used to having Aubre around to take the pictures, that I forget about it. The last couple of fish we caught were tiger trout. Small fish but big fight. 

We had planned on only staying until 2 pm at the latest. As usual, I somehow managed to convince Bryan that we needed to enjoy some fishing while it was good. We finally left the lake around 3 pm and we had to hike back down to base camp. The rain started again and it was coming down hard. Hard enough that we had a hard time finding the trail that we had come up on. It had turned into a creek. So we followed the creek. That turned out to be a mistake. I guess we followed the wrong stream. That is what I get for letting Bryan lead. I finally set us back on course and we made it off the mountain.

We got back to base camp, finished packing up and headed out. The hike back was longer and wetter than I remembered. I am pretty sure we had to cross over 100 streams. Our feet were wet all day long. We only took one break on the way back. We were hoping to make it back to the truck before it got dark. That would prove difficult, but we made it. When all was said and done we had done about 20 miles that last day. By the end of the hike I was so tired that my body was just on auto pilot. As soon as we dropped the packs in the back of the truck, it was like our bodies broke down and we couldn't walk any further. I have never been so close to just collapsing in my life. 
The trip was a success!! It was more than worth the walk. I seriously can't wait to go back. All I have to do is convince Aubre to come along. I am super thankful that she allowed me to slip away for a few days. To be honest, I missed her pretty bad during the hike and that was one of the reasons we cut the hike a day short. I like my brother but I love sleeping in the same bed as my wife. I was pretty excited to get back to her. I don't think she was expecting my phone call at 10 pm that night. We didn't get home until well after 2 am. This trip will go down as one of the best of my life. The two year dream had finally become a reality. It will forever be a fond memory for me and Bryan.


Park City Outlets

My sisters came down to spend the weekend w/me since Jake went camping/backpacking
They came in on Friday July 20th
We spent all day Saturday in Park City shopping. It was great!
I had a goal to find an outfit for a wedding Jake and I would be going to
mission accomplished

New addiction: Mustard yellow. Anything that's mustard yellow

Photo taken on my iPhone

Kelsey Courtney Aubre
Shopping at the Park City Outlets

Photo taken on my iPhone

Photo taken on my iPhone

After shopping, we went across the way to Olympic Park
We felt it was appropriate w/the Olympics starting the following weekend
We watched former Olympians ski jump down these slopes into water. So cool!

Photo taken on my iPhone

We walked around the park and saw all the outfits the Olympians wore
neatest thing ever
Here's the Olympic torch

Photo taken on my iPhone

Courtney with the Olympic torch

Photo taken on my iPhone

Kelsey with the Olympic torch

photo taken on my iPhone

The girls and I got some yummy treats and watched the season finale of The Bachelorette on Sunday, while we waited for Jake and Bryan to get back. It was the first time Jake and I had ever spent a night away from each other, so the weekend was fun w/my sisters, but I missed Jake. A lot. I was able to buy a couple skirts, and had an outfit picked out for this upcoming wedding Jake I are going to. It was an over all success with great people, shopping at a beautiful location, and eating wonderful food. We even ate at Jake's favorite Mexican restaurant in Heber! I was sad he wasn't there, but it was nice sharing a new experience w/new people. Until next time, Don Pedro's! 

Hotel Strain

It's summer time. I've just come to terms that it's busy time in the summer
I'm okay with it. Honestly
busy is good

When our friends ask us what we're doing on the weekends, I've had the same answer
We have family in town again. Great excuse to get out of something right?
Literally guys. We're not trying to lie or ditch you all
We've literally had family in town every single weekend

Allow me to give you the low down since May
We got home from our ten day vacation to California, on Monday May 28th
I know I've posted some previous notes before, but I'll run through it all

We return Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day)
Jake's brother (Bryan) flies in (for interviews) Thursday May 30th
and flies out Sunday June 3rd
My sisters come down (just for fun) Friday June 8th
and leave Sunday June 10th
We had the weekend of June 16th to ourselves for Jake's birthday
we planned it that way
Bryan flew in again Sunday June 17th and left Wednesday June 20th
We had a wedding the weekend of June 23rd. That was marked out for everyone
Jake's family came up for the 4th of July and to help Bryan move
They arrived early morning on the 4th of July and left on Sunday June 8th
We had Bryan staying with us, since he just moved up here and needed a place
so he was with us all week and all weekend
Jake loved it. They did a lot of fishing and working out together
PS we were supposed to go to Logan on Sunday July 1st but Jake had hives
so we rescheduled for the following Sunday (July 8th) but Jake had hives again
* more post on that later *
(My cousin lives in Logan w/her husband, so we were going to spend time w/her and their two cute little girls)
epic fail
So we get Bryan all moved into his place. I think he was excited to leave ours

Hotel Strain gets a little bit of a break. I work Saturday July 14th
(I'm required to work any one Saturday/month for just four hours)
Jake's mom and sister came back up on Wednesday July 18th
They brought up Bryan's dogs and stayed until Friday July 20th
My sisters came down Friday July 20th while Jake leaves to go camping/backpacking w/Bry
My sisters and I went shopping all day Saturday
* more post on that later *
 My sisters leave Monday July 23rd before traffic gets crazy for Pioneer Day
My youngest brother (Austin) flies in just a few days later for EFY
We pick him up at the airport on Saturday July 28th
* more post on that later *
and Austin leaves the following Saturday (August 4th

Here are some photos that took place before July 20th 

We took Jake's family up to our favorite place to fish, Lilly Lake

Photo taken on my iPhone

Papa Joe and Bryan

Photo taken on my iPhone

Remember how I said Jake's had hives?
Well... His doctor said he's pretty sure his immune system is just attacking itself
We've had many doctor trips throughout the month of June and July
it's been scary and a never ending process it feels
but we're anxiously awaiting some blood work, that will hopefully have some answers
We've seen it all. Our normal family doctor, an allergy doctor, and an ER doctor
hopefully someone will have some answers soon
Jake's poor body has just been shot. He's completely exhausted all the time

Photo taken on my iPhone

When you're cooped up inside w/a husband whose face randomly swells w/hives
it's nice to be outside sometimes

Photo taken on my iPhone

When we had Bryan staying w/us he cooked amazing vegetables. I love veggies!
He cooked brussels sprouts, which I had never had before, and I loved it!
Anything is good with bacon right?!?! Oh yeah

Photo taken on my iPhone

We Skyped with Jake's family one night. That was fun!!!
Marylyn (oldest sister) was even on another computer so we could all talk!!!!

Photo taken on my iPhone

Jake's parents brought me a belated birthday present. I love it!
I got a cake ball molding kit. I love to bake and this has already been wonderful!
I made cake balls the next weekend and took them into work. Trial run.
I decorated them with bright, summer sprinkles. Everyone loved them!

Photo taken on my iPhone

Jake's mom and sister came back up to Utah to drop off Bryan's dogs
So we went up Rock Canyon one night 
we saw some rock climbers & collected rocks

Photo taken on my iPhone

Photo taken on my iPhone

For all you readers out there, know you'll always have a place to stay, when you come to Utah. Hotel Strain at your service.