Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Open Letter to...A Celebrity

Dear Jennifer Affleck-
I LOVED you in Alias and am embarrassed to say that I watch all 5 seasons on DVD in a relative short amount of time (some of which I was sick so I have an excuse). I liked you in Felicity and as Electra. Basically I just like what you do.

You don't know this but one day I was over at my church building and I saw you. You happen to be playing with your daughter Violet in the grass in front of the building and you were having a great time. I watched you just being a normal mom and wondered how often you got to be "normal"?

I'm not your only fan in my family--in fact I may be the mildest fan. My mother adores you and sometimes she talks about you and baby Vi and Ben like you are relatives. I think it's hilarious. I apologize that my mom knocked on your door and talked to you but can you really blame her? She's a huge fan and you lived right there!

Anyway I know you have kids right now and you're doing the mom thing but I would really love to see you in another TV show or wicked awesome movie in the near future. That would be awesome!

Oh, say hi to Ben for me,


Fossil Springs

Brandon & Tami put together a group to sleep over and hike at Fossil Springs. I was told it would be fairly easy hike (not so). So Friday night we arrived late at the parking lot and slept in our sleeping bags under the stars. Little did I know that during the night the mosquitoes were feasting on my arms.

We woke up early and headed to the first waterfall. We jumped off rocks, went exploring underwater (the water is so clear so with goggles you can see everything), and then decided to hike to the Dam.

The started off with all 9 of us: Tami, 2 young girls she brought, Brad, Brandon, Dave, Brigham, Camilla, and I hiking along the river. Then Tami and the girls got separated from us. So the 6 of us just kept making our way. We ended up all over the place, I slid down a mountain side (lots of scrapes as proof), and finally ended up hiking up the mountain to the road/path that led to the Dam.

Once we got to the Dam we swam, ate lunch, and such and then headed back on the road/path. the hike back to the car wasn't too bad but I was hurting from my fall (my knee got pretty banged up).

After I was able to wash up I started counting my mosquito bites and stopped around 16 or so. The good news is they are bugging me so much I can't be bothered with the blisters on my feet or my bruised knee!

All in all we had a blast!

Camilla, Tami, & I.

(L-R) Brandon, Camilla, Tami, me, Brad

I jumped off the rocks and then I sort of slid jumped off the waterfall.

Brandon & I semi-under the waterfall.

Treasures that Brigham found in the water: sunglasses, beer can (full), and knife.

Brad and the Dam

The Dam we hiked to after the first falls.

The two champions Tami brought with her! They did the sleepover, hikes, and jumped off the rocks into the water!

Brad & Brigham sun bathing.

(L-R) Brandon, Brad, me, Brigham, Dave

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Open Letter to...My Sibling

Dear Grant-

I don't know what you are privy to but so much has happen in our family the past 10 years! Since you left so many crazy and wonderful things have happen to each of us. I thought I would write you and tell you about some of them.

Camryn:I know you didn't really know Cam but loved to hold her and play with her. She is now a young women!! I can't believe how tall she's grown and how old she is getting. She loves to play the piano and play sports like soccer. She's really into candy, movies, and all the things big girls do. She recently got her ears pierced and was so excited.

Clay: He will soon be the same age you were when you left and I think it will hard and exciting to watch him take these new steps in life. Being the only boy in our family, I think, has been hard for him at times. I often think of how things would be different if you were around. It will be new for all of us to have a boy in the family past the age of 15. So the whole dating, driving, mission thing will be new to us but exciting! Sometimes I ache that he doesn't have you around but we have amazing bro-in-laws that bug him when they're around.

Ali: Oh man, you should hear this girl sing and write music--she's amazing! She runs track doing high jump, triple jump, and hurdles and she's great! I think you too would've loved running together. She just graduated from high school and is heading to Utah Valley University in the Fall to start college in their Nursing Program!

Kati: has a boyfriend that she adores and he's been around for quite some time! She just finished her Freshman year at San Diego State University and she absolutely loved it! I was able to visit her a few times on campus and that was wicked awesome! Kati is studying Psychology and wants to also get her PhD someday!

Dani: She went and got herself married! His name is Kevin and we all love him dearly! I think you two would've gotten along great! Dani graduated from college recently also in Graphic Design. She and Kevin have been living in ID going to BYUI but just moved back to Lodi, CA. They are hoping that Kevin gets into a PA school soon and will move to accommodate him. Dani is so funny, has an amazing blog, and is building a great life for herself!

Chelsea: Here is where the big changes have come. Chelsea got married to the perfect man for her and his name is Mike. Everyone loves Mike and he somehow puts up with the crazy family. They lived in Ghana, West Africa for a year and now live in Baltimore. Soon both Chelsea & Mike with have Phd.'s and hope to find a college where they can both teach. They recently had a beautiful baby girl and named her Eden Jean Shields Strayer! She has stolen the heart of anyone and everyone she meets! I have yet to meet her and can't wait! Chelsea is making her dreams and goals happen in her life!

Kylee: I've been doing a lot of traveling and moving around in the states. I finished college, moved to Boston and lived it up! Then I moved to AZ for grad school and just graduated last month with my Master in Social Work! I love my life, even with its ups and downs, and feel very blessed for the time I had with you. You are never far from my thoughts. I see your face in the young boys I work with. I think of you when I teach kids not to bully or how to take care of themselves when they are the victims. I have done a lot research on Asperger's Syndrome, which I think you had, and have been able to inform many people about AS thanks to you!

Mom: Is the most amazing woman ever. She is so supportive, always caring, and always listening. She has grown and change in so many ways since you left! She is a beacon of strength for everyone in the family. She is now an orphan with both her parents moving on. Don't worry though she has plenty of people in her life to keep her more than occupied and loved! You should be really proud of mom!

Dad: He wrote an article about you and him that was published in the Ensign and has touched many hearts! Dad continues to go to BYU football games, go on the motorcycle trips, run, and play basketball. I'm sure he misses you in all these endeavors! Dad has also grown and changed in so many ways since you left. You should be really proud of dad!

The family has LOVED living in California and I think you would've like it as well. You'll be happy to know that we are all BIG Cougars fans still and love to go to games when we can! Cougar football, motorcycles, and bananas always make me think of you and smile! I sometimes wonder what you are doing, thinking, getting to see. I wonder if you were the first person to Eden and if you get to be with grandma & grandpa Brink and grandpa Shields? I wonder if you miss us or if you're too busy doing the Lord's work? Don't get me wrong, I'm happy you are where you are, but there are moments when I miss you something fierce! Your life touched and continues to touch and affect each of us in powerful ways!

Well, this is not much in the way of summarizing 10+ years, but it will have to do for now. I love you so much brother and look forward to seeing you again!

Love Eternally,

Your Big Sis, Kylee

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Open Letter to...My Parents

Dear Parents-
Wow! I attempted many times today to write this letter but each time I got a bit overwhelmed. So I think instead of all the feelings, thoughts, and words that are trying to gush out on this post--I will keep it simple!

I've had the opportunity to live with many different people in my life so far, including families, which has given me the chance to compare and contrast our family. So what have I learned? I learned that I have one crazy, loud, messy, annoying, strong, spiritual, amazing, and forever family. I've learned that while there is no manual on how to raise 1 kid-let alone 8 kids-you both did an amazing job.

You both taught me to be myself and for that I'm grateful! You led by example the importance of education, putting the Lord first in my life, and the importance of family. You showed me how adapt to change, how to make new friends, how to grieve, how to ask questions, and how to go to the Lord.

Dad you taught me to be a hard worker--to do something right the first time. To have self mastery (self control). You taught me to keep a place clean, to a leave a place better than I found it, and to always be looking for ways to help out. You taught me to love my scriptures, to seek higher education, and to go for my goals and dreams.

Mom you taught me to be strong and independent. You inspired and foster my love for travel. I watched you read and in turn fell in love with it myself. You let me try so many different things as a kid such as dancing, soccer, music, plays, voice lessons, and so much more. This allowed me to have a broad base and to relate to so many people. Mostly you just listened to all the intricate (and probably mostly boring) details of my life. That mattered more than you know.

Lately, working with kids who have awful circumstances, backgrounds, and "families" got me thinking about all the little things you did for me as a kid that these kids missed. Thank you for reading to me as a kid, for singing to me. Mom whenever I hear "You Light Up My Life" I remember you singing to me as a kid. I remember the PPI's you did with me dad when I got to share with you what was going on in my life and you just listened, learned, and loved me. I'm grateful for the FHE's, the family reunions, the building of our houses, the friends over at our house all the time, and so much more.

Today I'm missing you both and the family something fierce and I'm thinking I should have come home but I'm so grateful I got to see you both at my graduation! It was so much fun to have you all to myself for a few days!

Thank you for loving me, for your patience, for your trying to understand my situation, and for your advice. Thank you for being my cheerleaders, for inspiring me, and for allowing me to make mistakes. I want you both to know that I am so proud of you and could never adequately describe how much I love you!

The First Born in the Wilderness

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

An Open Letter to...My Crush

Dear very good looking EQP*-
I just moved to a new town, into a new house, and into a new ward-your ward to be exact. I had low expectations on my first Sunday (so as not to be let down). After sacrament meeting I was herded into the bishop's office to fill out paperwork and meet some of the members of the ward. I didn't exactly meet you but we both introduced ourselves.

I'll be honest I don't even remember your name because when you introduced yourself all I could think of was (man this guy is hot!) why hadn't my roommate, who went to the ward last week, told me about the hottie EQP? Ha ha. And that was it.

I don't know you at all, I have no idea how old you are, what you like, what you are doing with your life (besides you church calling), or even if you have a girlfriend. But since this is to my crush you are it! I hope to get to know you better in the future!


*Elders Quorm President

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Open Letter to...My Best Friend

When I was 4 I met my best friend for life= Kimberlee Ann (Young) Cook
Then there was... Joey Leavitt
Then... Lauren (Layne) Enochs
Then... Alan/Michael Sackett & Kris Higley
Then...Anne (Walton) Burnett
Then...Kris (Pallin) Wood
Then...Marie (Thompson) Criddle
Then...Timothy Connor
Then...Brandon Burnham

Though I have been blessed to have some incredible best friends in my life I'm going to write my open letter to my best friend of 26 years!


I don't know how I lucked out in life to have you as my best friend. It seems a bit strange to me that we have spent more of our lives apart now then we ever did together--and yet you are somehow woven into everything that I am!

The other day I was thinking of your house fire, I was thinking of the metal pencil box we dug and hid under the tree in my backyard, and I was thinking of how much fun we had as kids. I was also thinking of how you actually waited for me to come home from my mission before you got married (you know I wouldn't have allowed it any other way). This got me thinking of 2 summers ago when I had no idea why I needed to move to UT before I moved to AZ but went ahead and you ended up in the hospital for too many days.

I asked God not to take away my best friend and I rejoiced with your amazing husband when you got better. I can't imagine the world without you in it! You were the first (outside my family) to love me unconditionally! You loved the loud in me, the passion, the craziness, the ADHD, and so much more (and still do after all these years.) That kind of love has sustained me many times in my life!

You were there for me for all the deaths in my family, all the tragedies, the big triumphs, lots of laughs, and many tears. I only hope you know how much I love you! There isn't an open letter long enough to captures 26 years of friendship so I'll just hope my hand print on your heart is sufficient!

Please squeeze that incredible husband of yours for me and tell the girls hi for me!

I love you forever, Kylee

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Blog Project: An Open Letter to...

Let's face it I need to breathe life back into my blog. I stole this project from a good friend of mine and thought it might be interesting. The few of you who still read my blog might be interested a few of my letters. I imagine I will be making a few adjustments!

Day 1 — Your Best Friend-
Day 2 — Your Crush-
Day 3 — Your parents-
Day 4 —Your sibling (or closest relative)-
Day 5 — A washed up celebrity-
Day 6 — A stranger-
Day 7 — An Ex-boyfriend/girlfriend/love/crush-
Day 8 — Your favorite internet friend-
Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet-
Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like to-

Day 11 — A Deceased person you wish you could talk to-
Day 12 — A person who helped you develop professionally-

Day 13 — Someone you wish could forgive you-
Day 14 — Someone you’ve drifted away from-
Day 15 — The person you miss the most-
Day 16 — Someone that’s not in your state-
Day 17 — Someone from your childhood-

Day 18 — The person that you wish you could be-
Day 19 — Someone that you think about a lot—good or bad-

Day 20 — The one that broke your heart the hardest-

Day 21 — Someone you judged by their first impression-

Day 22 — Someone you want to think you're awesome-

Day 23 — The last person you kissed-

Day 24 — The person that gave you your favorite memory-
Day 25 — The person you'd like to see right now-
Day 26 — A person you want to be there for-
Day 27 — A person who changed your life for the better-

Day 28 — Someone that changed your life-
Day 29 — The person whose art has most touched you-

Day 30 — Your reflection in the mirror-

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Sewed a Baby Bag!!

I wanted to make something for my sister and her baby so this seemed the most likely thing to gift to both of them. Then my best friend (Brandon)'s mom offered to teach me how to sew. With her patience & expertise I was able to make this all on my own.

* It only took me 20 years + mom but I finally sewed something!*