Thursday, November 19, 2015

First Cabinet Painting Tip: Supplies

My advice to those wanting to paint their cabinets is, DO NOT buy cheap paint first and for most! This applies even more if you are planning on doing white. Cheap paint will look dirty faster, be hard to clean, start to yellow, and chip easier. With all the hours you are going to put in with painting your cabinets, why not do it right. I did a lot of research for over a year on and off. Very quickly I knew I would want to use Benjamin Moore because they are one of the best paints on the market. Sure they are a little over $50 a gallon but is it worth saving $25 give or take on cheaper paint if I am just going to want to redo them all over again because of all the problems I am having? I don’t think so. I can already tell this is going to be a huge project and I won’t want to do it again! I also don’t want the person who buys my house in the future to curse my name. I found that the Benjamin Moore Advance was made specifically for cabinets and the paint covered all the problems I worried about with the draw backs of painting white. It also comes out smooth so you don’t really see any brush marks. I talked to one of the professionals at my local paint store and they recommended a mohair blend roller as the next best thing instead of spraying the cabinets and using a finer brush for the detailing on the molding of the cabinet. Those two items cost me about $20 but again it’s really not much more than going the cheaper route. I really didn’t want brush marks to show and it really worked! Also don’t go with any primer, do your research and talk to a professional to find what works best for your project. Don’t go to places like Lowes, Home Depot, or heaven forbid Walmart. Most of the time they don’t know as much information and don’t carry enough brands to give you very many options.  To get the best results don’t skip doing all the prep work. Clean your cabinets with 50/50 water and denatured alcohol, mineral spirits, or TSP and sand with a 220 grit sandpaper sponge or 400 grit sandpaper. To get all the dust off after sanding use a tack cloth or a damp rag. Can’t wait to show you all my final results and anymore advice that I find will help those wanting to tackle a project like this. My last word of advice that comes from my grandpa is “think and go slow”!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Learning Patience

I am about to talk about a sensitive topic for many women and that is trying to start a family. In the world of being a Latter Day Saint we are asked to pretty much start trying for children as soon as possible, because of this it is very common to see many newly wed couples getting pregnant soon after. Steve and I decided to wait until we felt a little more on our feet and grew our relationship to be as strong as it can be before bring children into the world. I am so glad we waited because I have loved this time growing with just Steve. In November 2014 we decided we were ready to start our family after being married over 3 years. It has now been almost a year since then with no luck and each month gets harder and harder to not let it get to you. Some months you feel strong and try not to care but some months it's very emotional. One of the hardest things is being around many women who can get pregnant by accident or it really doesn't take them that long. You try to be happy for them but it hurts after each new friend announces they are expecting. It can also be hard to see couples who haven't been married as long as you and they get pregnant and sometimes you feel it's not far. Funny enough it doesn't help that you find out if your pregnant or not in the most emotion time of the month (stupid hormones)! I am having to learn not to let this affect my every day happiness and it has been a challenge. It's funny how you can have many things going for you but one thing can sometimes hold you back. When we first got married I didn't like married wards because it was always who was pregnant next or who got a promotion or new car, etc. We didn't stay in that ward very long and went to a family ward. You never think that getting pregnant is going to take a long time but it seems to be becoming more common or maybe we are just raising more awareness to it. You also never know when to go to a doctor but you are also scared it will break the bank if you do so or they will tell you everything is fine and just be patient. 

Not too long ago I found an article from the Ensign called "Patience:More Then Waiting". I have always felt everything happens for a reason and in the right time. I have seen that so much in my life that I can't ignore it. When we first started trying to start our family I went to the temple because I knew I would need help in trying to be patient in case this was going to take longer then expected. I am so glad I did and I feel like this has made a big difference (as well as my husband and I promising each other if we didn't get pregnant in a year we would go to Disney World). When you think of patience you do think of waiting but it is so much more then that. Elder Maxwell said "Patience is not indifference. Actually, it means caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit to the Lord and to what the scriptures call the 'process of time'. Patience is a manifestation of inner strength and devotion to the Lord. Elder Maxwell also said "Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purpose of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be." Patience also helps us to realize that while we may be ready to move on, having had enough of a particular learning experience, our continued presence is often needed as a part of the learning environment of others." This is better said then done but it was something very emotional to read. I also recently watched the movie "The Longest Ride" and one of the stories was about a couple who couldn't have kids and it was so hard for them. In the 40's it was hard to adopt but they learned to find joy in each other.

We will see what happens as time goes on and it hopefully is just not time yet for Steve and I but I will try to find joy in what I do have, not to say that I won't have my hard days, even if in the end if it will just be Steve and I. 

To  those who are in my shoes and may have been trying even longer then me, know you are not alone and to find someone or a support group you can talk to so we don't burden our husbands with so many emotion because as we know, they can only take so much but we love them any ways. To those who don't have this problem, please reach out to those you know that do have this problem and help them the best you can and don't take your children for granted. Even though there are some days it can be really hard, you were blessed with these wonderful children who look up to you so much! I am so grateful for all I have been blessed with especially my husband and even though it's hard I am glad that the Lord is teaching me to be more patient, I am sure going to need that skill once we have children!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Steven Oaks, Comic Book Colorist!

When I first met Steve one of the first things he told me about himself was his passion for coloring comics. I didn't know much about it but thought it was great he had a creative side to him. Soon he started showing me each piece he would be working on while we dated. He was great, I don't know if I understood how amazing he was until later.

When we got married Steve continued school and I stopped and started working full time. As time went on we decided school was doing nothing for Steve for his career path to be a comic colorist so we decided to stop. No one was really happy with our decision but we did it anyway. We took a chance and I kept working full-time and Steve just worked on improving his talent and getting a little bit of money here and there. He would spend 10 hours a day just coloring. Everyone would tell me to get him a job so he could help me more with finances since we were living on very little money, hardly enough to get by. I thought yes that would be wonderful but who am I to stop my husband from pursuing his dreams. I could never get anyone to understand how important it was for me to support my husband in his dreams no matter what. Only the best artists in the world make a living, if Steve's life-long dream was to succeed, he would have to dedicate 100% to improving to make it afloat.

As he got better he started getting more work and things were looking up. We moved to Utah because there were better paying jobs down there for me and to be close to family. May 4, 2013 Steve wanted to go into a comic book store for free comic book day. I thought why not and we drove to the nearest one. When we got there we saw a few artists selling their work there. As Steve looked at the work he turned to me and said "you know I am way better then them. Why I am I not doing this?" He asked one of the employees if he could come back later and start selling some of his work and they said he could. We ran to the print store and printed out some of his work. I wasn't happy with how much it cost but we had to try. We got there later in the day after most of the crowd but we ended up selling most of our prints and made a good amount of cash for how many people were there. We were both surprised and pleased with how much people loved his work. I felt it was a good starting direction for Steve.

Not too long after that they announced that there would be a Salt Lake Comic Con. Somehow I found out about the artist alley tables and asked Steve if we should do it. We decided it would be worth a try to see what happened. It cost us at that time a lot of money to buy his set up and all the prints we thought we would need. When we got to the convention we got a great corner booth and started setting up. When the convention started, each day we were needing more prints as we would sell out so quickly. We made many times over what we had hoped. Since then Steve has used the money from that show to build a traveling business where he is able to provide for our family and continues to grow.

It was so great to see so many complete strangers fall in love with his work and ask for his signature on the prints they bought.

As we planned more conventions I would go with him, but over time we realized Steve wouldn't be able to do as many if I went cause of my job and we would lose money with me going cause of the extra plane ticket and food. He now tries to do 2 a month and next year is going to be crazy busy now that we have found out more about different conventions.

I am so proud Steve is living his dream and I have loved meeting all the people that buy his work and the great friends we continue to make at each one. Yes, it's hard having Steve gone so much and it will be even more so when we start our family but I wouldn't change it for the world. Very few people get to live their dreams and my husband is living his. I am glad I never gave up on him and told him to go 'get a job' or continue school. Steve does better now than if he had gone to finish his major in PR. I wouldn't change a thing. It is amazing how far we have come in just one year with Steve doing these conventions. I mean come on we bought a house and are planning to start our family next year. What more can a girl ask for!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our First Home In Pleasant Grove

Last September Steve and I started realizing that we could possible buy a home. We were tried of renting and knew we wanted to raise our family in Utah. Steve's job lets him live anywhere he wants so why rent when you can buy and make an investment.

We just started him doing conventions in September and have been trying to do at least one a month. That brings in some great money and he makes pretty much as much as I do and sometimes more in 3 days at a convention. But these conventions are not as easy as they sound. They are exhausting! You wake up early in the morning every day, you have to set up, take down, have good energy even if you having a bad sales day, you eat granola bars and Gatorade all day, you can't really leave your table (and these are 8 to 11 hour days), and you are fighting not to fall asleep. The thing that gets me through when I go is knowing we get to go out to eat after. I use to try to go to all of them with him but they are out of state and I don't want to take the time off work and it cost us more money for me to go too. So I just go to the Utah ones and there are three of them and that is more then enough for me. I don't know how Steve does them, but we did just get him a portable tablet so he just works while he is there and brings a monitor so everyone can see how he does his work.

That being said in November we put in an offer and was accepted on a townhome before we had all the money we needed thinking we would get it by the time we closed. That didn't happen so we had to back out. It was hard but there was no way it was going to work out. I wasn't as sad as I thought I would be but we decided we would try again in about a year from then. We did our calculations and decided on September as the time we would have the money we needed to buy our first home. I never stopped looking at homes. I kept watching so I could get an idea of the market and what was a good deal.

In March this townhome in the same place as the last one came on the market. I had a list of homes I liked as they came up just encase any would be for sale when the time came for us to buy. I liked this home but I knew it would most likely sale before we had a chance. As time went on they started dropping the price. Then in June it went down the lowest I had seen for that area. That day I showed Steve and asked if we should go see it, maybe they would take a 90 day contract. I called them Monday June 16th to get a time to see it and told them what are situation was. We got there and loved it and the lady gave us different options to help us see if we could close in 30 days. The seller wouldn't accept a longer contract. So I talked to my family friend Julie. We spent all night trying everything to make it work. Finally after making some calls we where able to find I way to get our money in time. We put in our offer that night. We found out the lady selling it was 92 years old and didn't want to sell it but couldn't use stairs anymore cause of surgery and a heart attack. They had 3 offers come in in the beginning but she wasn't ready to sell. When they finally found her a place and moved her in, she finally was ready to accept an offer. The only thing was the other offers had expired. She had dropped the price 5,000 dollars so she could sell it as soon as possible. The day my realtor took our offer for the seller to look at another offer came in offering the same amount as us but she had already left so it was too late. They had just barely missed their chance for her to take their offer with her to show the seller.

As we started the process working towards closing everything went so smoothly. Our loan got approved in 2 and a half business days with no conditions! That is very rare! In all it took us 3 weeks from the day we saw it to close. That didn't stop me from stressing or not sleeping good at night lol. The only problem was Steve was going to be gone during the weekend we were to move in. So I called up all the people I could and got 9 people to load the truck and 4 people to unload it. I was really scared to drive the truck and leave others to organize it, but it all worked out. Then my family came over and we got everything unpacked and in it's place that day (I can't stand having things in boxes and would have stayed up all night until it was done). We know we are meant to start our family and life here in this home. There has to be a reason why everything worked so smoothly.

So far we are loving every minute of it and can't wait to make some upgrades. Just knowing it's our makes all the difference! It amazing how much better you take care of a place knowing it's yours vs. renting. I also learned that moving in 95 degree weather isn't my favorite thing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In memory of my Aunt Jeanna...

On May 19th my dear, sweet Aunt Jeanna passed away from ovarian cancer. She had fought the disease for almost 20 months. She tried with everything she had to beat it and thought she could but the disease took over. It surprises me how many people aren't very close to their extended family, but in my family we are together pretty much every holiday and it is always a party. My Aunt Jeanna was without a doubt my best friend and someone I could always talk to. She didn't get married until she was almost 38, so at times I felt she could really understand a lot of things I was going through. It was fun to talk with her about boys and she would always joke about how dumb they were if I needed cheering up or just a laugh. Every once in awhile she would bring a boyfriend to family outings and I would always remember evaluating them to see if they were worthy of my aunt. No one really was until Lou. The second I met him I could see how caring he was to Jeanna and he just fit with her so nicely. Lou was by her side every moment while having cancer. He never left her side. The tender way he was there for her amazes me and makes me so happy she had someone to be her rock and love her till the end. At my grandma's house there are only two queen beds and when we visited, my parents would take one and if Jeanna was there she would take the other. I never liked sleeping on the floor or on an air mattress so one day I asked if I could sleep next to her. From that day on every time we were all over it was a known fact I would be sleeping next to Jeanna. We both liked sleeping in so we never woke each other up.
A year or so before she was diagnosed she traveled the world with Lou. She loved to travel and experience new things. She was strong and brave and could conquer anything. She lived her life to the fullest every day. I still think she is just some where around the world and I will see her the next family outing. Her funeral was so spiritual, I wanted to sit there all day just to feel her close and hear stories about her. I didn't want to let her go, I didn't want to finalize the realty that she was gone. Before she passed away I was looking for a 5k
to sign up for to keep me motivated to exercise. That is when I found the Susan Komen breast cancer run. Knowing breast cancer is linked to ovarian cancer, I decided to run it for her. I was going to make a shirt and send her pictures. That day came and it was wonderful running it with my cousin. I called my mom to see if she thought Jeanna would see it, she said that she hadn't been very alert in awhile so she may never get to see the pictures, my heart broke. Then as I was still on the phone my grandma messaged me and said she would show Jeanna when she woke up. The next day she did and got to see the pictures and it made her smile. A week or two before she passed away I wanted so much to call her and talk to her one last time. I never got to because she couldn't talk to anyone on the phone cause she was so weak. I just had to trust that she knew what was in my heart and how much I loved her and all she meant to me. I only got to see her once after she was diagnosed and that was in February. I hadn't seen her in over 2 years and I am glad I got to see her one last time even if it was only for a couple days. When I walked in the door and saw her she hugged me close and told me she never wanted to be away from each for that long ever again. It's bittersweet to think of that because yes it will be longer then that till I see her again but in a way she will always be with me by my side in spirit.  There are so many things I wish I would have done more of before she died. I miss her so much words can't explain. No one will ever take her place. I will never forget her playing with my hair making it look silly and telling me how pretty it looked and just to keep it the way it was as we laughed together. I will try to think of her just on another adventure traveling the world and I will see her soon. I know that she will be such a help to me in my life. I often think of what her life could of been, if she had kids, what other travels would she have went on, where she would have settled to buy a home. I wish so much she got to experience more in life, but I know she lived her life to fullest for as long as she had. It's like she always knew she needed to live life more fully than most. If I am blessed with two daughters one of them will be named Jane Mae, similar to Jeanna Mae and I will raise her to be just like her. I love her so much and will always remember the good times we had.

Forever and always Jeanna, you will never be forgotten or just a memory!

"You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same nor should you want to."

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I love you Kyla!

    Hi all, this is Kyla's husband Steve. Today marks our 2 year Anniversary! I wanted to tell her how great she is and how much I love her.

Dear Kyla,

I never imagined, that I would not only have a beautiful woman who shares my values on so many things and works hard to keep our family strong, but also supports my dreams.
I think many people might talk about supporting their spouses dreams especially before marriage  but I am so lucky to have a woman who actually does it.
More and more I see that I made the best choice in asking you to marry me. It takes a special woman to be married to me.
As you may remember the most important thing to me in choosing a wife was finding a woman who I wouldn't just love for a few years, but one I could love forever. I knew life would throw us plenty of curve balls through time. It was a complete necessity that I find a woman who would grow in the same direction with me.
I believe much of divorce and unhappy marriages come from couples giving up and not walking on the same path in life. We have stayed constant in our path as we have changed for the better. I feel we are more alike and better to each other now than we were during the time of dating and beginnings of our marriage. We treat each other better and are more patient with one another than we were before.
That says something.
We have had to make hard decisions in our marriage, and endure many hardships new to our previous lives.
That one choice was so powerful. The choice to marry not someone I just had an infatuation with, but someone who would stay on the same track I would.
You are a remarkable woman, you do so much to keep our marriage alive and you always put me before anyone else. I struck gold!
I love you so much and truly look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries to come. This year was better than the last and may things always look up!

Love eternal,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Our Adventure In Moving To Utah

Every since my husband and I got married we wanted to move to Utah to be close to my family and get out of boring Rexburg. The sooner we could get out of there the better. There was hardly any work up there, it was cold, and there was nothing to do. I had been working at Albertsons and it wasn't a bad job, but I wasn't even making $8 an hour. So I started looking at jobs in Utah and hoping someone would be ok with doing a skype interview or give me enough notice to drive down to Utah for an interview. For a little while we really didn't have much luck. I did have one skype interview with being a nanny for 6 kids in Orem, but that didn't work out. I kept applying thinking if the lord wanted us in Utah he would find a way. Then I got a call from a Chiropractor's office while I was at work. We only have one phone so my husband answered and set up an interview for the next day. When I got home and he started to tell me about it, I looked up the number and noticed it was a Utah number. I laughed and told him there was no way I could get to Utah tomorrow on a work day. I called them but they where closed, luckily they had emailed me more information so I emailed them back telling them about how I was in Idaho and could maybe come down on the weekend or have a skype interview. They where very desperate and went ahead and had a skype interview with me the next day. The interview went well but when they told me I would be making $8.50 an hour I knew that wasn't enough for us to move to Utah. I had to call them back and tell them I couldn't take the job. I was sad because I really wanted to move down to Utah and wanted to get some front office experience for the future. After I had told them I had to make at least 10 dollars an hour for us to move down there they told me they would talk about it and call me back. So I went to work and half way through they called me and told me they would start me at $9 and then within a month and half have me at $10. I told them I would happily take the job and asked when they wanted me to start, they said that Monday. Keep in mind this happened on Halloween on a Wednesday. I had 4 days to find a place for us to live, pack, move, and sell our contract. I had no idea how we where going to do this but I knew it would work out even if we had to live at my parents for a little while.

We started packing that very minute I got off the phone and want searching for boxes. My wonderful parents started look at apartments for us in Orem but none of them my parents liked and they where in sketchy neighborhoods. Then my mom came across a one bedroom basement apartment in Alpine 1.6 miles from my parents house. It would require us to help the man up-stair by taking him to church, doctor appointment, yard work, and any other errands he would need. I was ok with that even though we wanted a 2 bedroom apartment, the place was big and VERY nice for the price. We still couldn't decide but my mom scheduled us an interview with him anyways for Saturday at four.  We scheduled a rental truck for Saturday before my mom set up the appointment and then realized we would need two days to load all our stuff in the truck. When I went to change the date they told me they had no trucks available. Then I started to panic because we need to be in Utah for the interview. We called many different places but they all where too expensive. We ended up calling the same company but the one in Idaho Fall's to see if they had one for us. They only had one left so we raced up there and got the rental truck. Thanks to four of our great friends we barely made it out in time to make our appointment. We met with Monroe for the apartment and we LOVED it. The next day he called us on Sunday to let us know we got the apartment and we moved in Monday. All we had left was to sell our contract and we only had till that same Monday to sell it or we would have to pay that months rent. Again by some miracle we sold it that very Monday.

Looking back that was one of the biggest blessing and a complete miracle that that all worked out so quickly. I know with out a doubt my husband and I where meant to be here in Utah. After finding out my aunt and then not to long later my grandpa have cancer I am so glad I can now be a support for my family. I am glad I get to be more involved in my sister's lives as they grow up. I can now help my family with anything they need. Now more then ever I need to be near my family so we can get through this together. I also have an amazing job now in American Fork, the perfect home, a cat, along with my amazing husband of course.

Life Is Good!! :D