A Father’s Day Tribute to the Father of My Children

don1He must feel this way often in our family!

don3Fishing with Jack in Columbia, Missouri a few weeks ago.

don2I love the posts all over Facebook today celebrating fathers, husbands, and even young men who are not-yet-dads.  There are exceptions to the fatherly role in all varieties, and for many reasons, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is fun to see so many loved and appreciated dads all over the world!  It kind of restores my faith in humanity.

I love my own father very much, and I called him today.  It is good to hear his voice and I am so thankful he is still on this Earth with us so that I may call him anytime, for any reason.  He’s that kind of dad (and with his sleeping schedule, he’d probably be awake at any time of day or night!).  But today I want to focus on the father of my children, otherwise known as the love of my life.

My man.  Where do I start?  We often joke that the reason we married (and stay married!) is because we’re each so weird that nobody else would have us.  It’s probably true, at least for my part.  My husband IS weird but he’s also so many good things that any woman would be lucky to have him.

My man loves me.  He loves me nice, grumpy, fat, skinny (and every size in between!).  He loves me blonde, brunette, hair falling out, good hair days, bad hair-don’ts.  He loves me 24/7 even when I force him to watch yet another BBC murder mystery.

My man lets me sleep.  I need lots of sleep just to function.  I need even more sleep to be kind.  My husband, however, has the ability to nap in short intervals anytime, anywhere.  It’s truly a gift, and one I wish I had.  He is also very kind on very little sleep.  It says quite a bit about his character!  I had a coworker once who complained about his wife still being in bed when he left for work in the early morning, nevermind they had small children and she was probably still tired from giving birth to them!  Don has never once begrudged me one minute of sleep.  Not one minute!  He is the kind of husband who got up with the newborn babies, without complaining, for nearly a decade — not just occasionally, but 99% of the time!  Because he can.  Because he cares.  Because he knew if I got up, the world would be up with me.  Also, because he loves babies.  I love that I can’t stop him from making goofy faces at babies in Sacrament meeting at church.

My man loves animals.  I recently witnessed him let a chihuahua (our least favorite type of dog) put his bum in his face and watch two hours of television with that puppy on his chest.  He often stops on highways and back-roads to help a turtle cross the road.  It has been said you can tell much about a man by the way they treat animals and, if that is true, this man’s heart is golden.

My man is patient.  He’s not only patient with the kids, he’s patient with me.  He’s the kind of guy you would be lucky to get on the other end of a suicide line!  His voice is calming and he defuses situations with ease.  He excelled at a computer call center job early on in our marriage because he has a way with helping people out in the toughest situations while keeping calm.  Nothing seems to phase him.  He’s temperance personified.

My man is kind.  He would never intentionally hurt anyone.  We have been married almost 25 years and I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone else, even when I’ve tried to goad him into it!  He has feelings and gets hurt and might even think something negative but he knows how to “bridle his tongue”.  Which brings me to…

My man reminds me of James.  Yes, the scriptural James, brother of John.  As far as apostles go, Peter is the Hollywood superstar – everyone loves Peter because he’s identifiable and has such charisma.  John is beloved.  But James?  We hardly ever talk about James. Let me tell you a little of what I’ve learned about James over the years — he is smart, kind, dedicated, worthy, righteous, valiant and quiet.  I know this about James because I have come to believe James’ personality was probably similar to that of my husband.  In fact, James’ short chapters in the New Testament talk about bridling your tongue and being valiant.  Yep.  That’s my man.

My man is a true gentleman.  He holds doors open for ladies and those that are less-than-ladylike because of who HE is, not because of who is walking through the door.  He is quick to help and, over the years, has never complained about any service he has rendered.  His example has taught his sons well as they have carried on the tradition of helping people move, paint, clean gutters, fix windows, replace appliances, fix cars, fix roofs, install garage doors, etc.  Our sons are better for his example.  He helps so much that sometimes things at home get put off way too long.  He is always helping someone in some way — often ways I’m not even aware of.

My man is steadfast.  He is my rock.  He is solid.  He is the one who always answers reassuringly when I ask, “Are we going to be okay?”

My man is strong.  He has lifted many washers and dryers on his lone back.

My man is not greedy.  He would never dream of having a brand new, shiny truck as long as there are family needs that take precedence.  He dreams of the truck, I assure you, but he’s patient enough and willing to wait until our kids are on missions and through college (or at least until his current 15 year old SUV breaks down for good!).

My man is confident in his own way.  He does not get jealous.  Believe me, I’ve tried!

My man is easygoing.  He takes things one day at a time and everything in stride.  I once asked where he’d like to be buried (I was not plotting his death!) and he said, “I don’t care, I’ll be dead!”  Yep.  That about sums him up.

My man is smart.  I spent the first 10 or 15 years of our marriage thinking I was smarter.  But, over the ensuing years, I have realized that he is WAY smarter than I am.  A few things I’ve learned from him a little too late:  there is wisdom in not responding to emails and phone calls right away; I don’t need to respond immediately.  I still struggle with this but often, things work out on their own and usually by those who harbored the initial problem in the first place.  People must be given a chance to solve their own problems whether that is at home, work or church.  The Lord helps those who help themselves!  I’ve also learned that simple is good.  One can fulfill an obligation without going overboard or complicating things.  For me, this concept was — and still is — revolutionary.  The marketing person in me wants to plan, advertise, aggrandize and make things bigger and better — which is often not appropriate.  Much like how the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost pierces the soul, simple action in fulfilling callings and obligations can be more effective than any other superfluous activity.  He does what matters most and he does it right.  There’s James showing up again.

My man is a hard worker.  He has worked full-time and then an overnight part-time job on the side as well as finishing his Master’s degree while working and raising small kids.  He is the type of man who would do any kind of work to support his family.  He would never say any work was beneath him if his family was in need.

My man loves nature.  He is a fisherman at heart.  I don’t get it, but whatever.  He loves it so much that he fly-fished for fish (not trout!) in Omaha occasionally over his lunch breaks in small streams near his workplace.  He loves to tie flies and has taught his boys.  No vacation is complete without a state park visit, fishing or hiking.  We have been to so many zoos and state parks, I’ve lost count!  He is the perfect father for our boys.

My man eats anything.  Even when I have called and asked him what he wants for dinner, he says the same thing, “Anything.”  He has never once complained about anything I’ve ever cooked.  He often praises my cooking and is the only willing leftover-eater in the house!  As if that weren’t good enough, he occasionally comes home after a long day and cooks for the family — especially if I’m still at the computer finishing up a job.  He knows how difficult it is to work from home and fit everything in.  The crazy thing is, this man cooks with love.  Everything he makes tastes fantastic and the kids have requested his cooking more than mine.  He has the patience to chop and dice finely (which I don’t – you get big chunks of onion from me because I’m always in a hurry!).  He knows just how much mustard and onion go together for the perfect hot dog topping.  He is grill master.  I say, with 100% certainty, if he ever left this Earth while I was still on it, I would never grill again (mostly because I don’t even know how to start the grill).  His steaks and chicken are legendary and he often is the one who grills for company.

My man is athletic.  Some people might laugh at this but they shouldn’t!  He often runs with me on Sunday mornings and he hates running!  He says he’s willing to go just because he wants to spend time with me doing something I love.   The thing that really ticks me off, though, is that he can run for two weeks and go farther and longer than I’ve been able to work up to in 9 years of running!  He’s got good genes.

My man helps around the house.  More often than I’d like to admit.  He fixes things, cleans and pitches in just about every way imaginable.

My man is funny.  Seriously, funny.  Our children have great senses of humor and I think they get this from their dad.  He makes me laugh often!

My man loves books.  Recently we had a book “race” where he read the paper book and I listened to the audiobook while I exercised and we finished at the same time.  It was funny how often we would end the day just at the same “scene” and it was fun to discuss it a little at night.

My man is righteous.  I don’t mean self-righteous.  He’s not that at all.  He is righteous in that he loves God with all of his heart and is a valiant priesthood holder in our home.  He blesses our children before school years begin, before scout camp, before anything and anytime we ask for a father’s blessing.  He’s not perfect, but he’s trying and he’s perfect for me.

Happy Father’s Day, Don.  You’re still my best friend and the first person I call for anything.  I’m sorry you had to leave at 7 a.m. for California on this Father’s Day — know you are loved and missed at home.  I love you.  We love you.  You are the best father to our children I could have ever hoped for.

Love,

Lizabeth

What I Designed Today: OK Mozart International Music Festival T-Shirts

I submitted about 9 different designs and these are my favorite versions.  The local printer prefers one color, so I was challenged to do an eye catching design while only using one or two colors to keep costs low.  Mission accomplished!  Which design would you prefer?  Do you think Mozart actually said these quotes?  Logo front pocket, this design printed large on the back side of the t-shirt design.

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In the end, in a somewhat heated debate, my client chose to print two different designs — each of which was liked by different personnel who adamantly did not like the other design!  Which makes me think of the phrase, “If everybody likes what you’re doing, you’re doing something wrong!” Not a bad motto to live by! I’m curious, though, which of the two below would you choose?

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What I Designed Today: Logo Designs for Push-It Pallet

I was asked to create a logo for a company that uses padded pallets as jewelry display cases. The requirements were: blue and green colors and an arrow or “hook”. I chose to include a box to indicate more of what the company was about! I like the chosen logo because of its retro look. Here is the page of logos initially sent for review:

Here is the finished selection:

Moving In Pictures

I’m just going to show a bunch of pictures. I think they speak for themselves. Frankly, I should still be too tired to type!

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My office (above) may NEVER recover! I think I can get both large printers in there but the inlaid wood table was broken by the movers. :/

Here’s the kitchen island a little more presentable but we’re so not there yet! It’s going to take time, maybe a lifetime, but that’s just fine with me.

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One last pic of the boys vegging out in the new family room. Who needs a formal living room anyway? This family room is “the” room and we are all loving it. We heart Bartlesville!!!

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Headed Home!

We’re headed to Oklahoma – and we’re calling it HOME. That’s a major milestone. We never did call Texas “home” though we loved the people there. It just never felt like home. I can’t wait to see my hubby again and the next 4 days until we close on our new home are going to seemingly be the longest of my life, I am sure. I hope to have some great home pics to share with you relatively soon (we have lots of furniture buying to do to replace what we sold in Houston). In the meantime, check out these great house pictures I’ve found at www.houzz.com. Lovely site for browsing the night away — much more fun than television, anyway.

Houston International Quilt Market Giveaway!!!

So last year I got to meet Amy Bradley at Houston’s Quilt Market 2009 and then I had a giveaway of one of her books. Let’s do it again! This year, I had something a little different in mind: giving away a bag of wool roving in the most delicious colors! I will post the giveaway soon. Quilt market was fun but, since I don’t quilt, I think two years is plenty of industry tradeshow experience for quilting.

A Wonderful Day in Houston

Wait.  Did I actually write that title???  The boys and I took off on a spur of the moment mini trip to downtown to the Zoo on this rainy day.  Bonus:  NOBODY WAS THERE except for us!  We were the only people in the reptile house and then the close encounters building and then the aquarium.  We did get wet for the outdoor dinosaur exhibit (and a little miffed it cost extra – only $2 each, though).  We did get wet from the rain but it was so much better than the usual heat.  None of us are made of sugar and a nice time was had by all!  I will post pictures soon.

We also went down the street to the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  We rode the geovator.  We went through the section that teaches all about oil drilling and we wished there was a new section explaining the latest oil spill catastrophe to us!

All in all – a great day!

I’m in love with PBS and BBC

Sure signs of aging: loving onions, mustard AND sauerkraut. Another sure sign of aging: really, really enjoying PBS and BBC. When did this sneak up on me?? I feel like normal television doesn’t include a plot anymore. I am addicted. MI-5 is a new one for me and it is fantastic, although I see I have 8 or 9 seasons to catch up on! I already love Masterpiece Classic – that Rupert Penry-Jones is amazing. No need to elaborate, right? Well, he reminds me of that guy in Robinson Crusoe that was cancelled (great show – I am still mourning television’s loss with that cancellation). I look forward to seeing The 39 Steps this Sunday night. Maybe getting old isn’t so bad!

Quilt Market Houston – A Newbie’s Perspective

Houston’s International Quilt Market didn’t indicate any sort of economic recession to me. These people have a passion and they take it seriously. There are some wonderful men at Quilt Market (if you’ve never met the big wigs over at Clover tools, run their direction as fast as you can – they are funny, generous true gentlemen!). But overall, the estrogen was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Husbands lined the walls, held the bags, and stood aside while female shop owners and designers worked the floor. Fabulous!


In Amy Bradley’s booth.

They even have little green ribbons for those of us who were venturing there for the first time. Other newbies stopped me to ask where I got my ribbon. You see, at Market, it’s all about what you’re getting: contacts, friends, food, fun, but most importantly…inspiration. And I’m not even a quilter!


Izzy & Ivy Designs won best new booth or something like that (an official award; not a made up one like mine!).

I came upon Quilt Market almost by accident: hubby transferred to Houston and my good friend Benay, of Beany Boy Quilts, wanted me to help her design and layout a quilt book. We’ve been in Houston about 14 weeks and – true to her word – Benay came down to visit me and we headed out for downtown. The rows upon rows of interesting fabrics and quilts were mind boggling. I don’t quilt, you see, but any girl with graphic sensibilities can appreciate a good quilt design. You could immediately tell which pattern and fabric designers stood out from the crowd because their booths were crowded. There were so many fun exhibitors who actively passed out fliers, smiled and said hello, inviting you into their booths. In contrast, there were quite a few exhibitors who just sat in their booth looking unfriendly and not even saying a word. I noticed a trend: those with traditional patchwork and passé designs were the ones looking uninviting. The best exhibitors had not only fresh, fun quilt designs but they also included other projects: animals, backpacks, books, you name it! Their creativity wasn’t limited to quilt design. And it showed. They were genuinely creative people.


L to R: Benay Derr, Amy Bradley, Lizabeth Rolfson


Amy’s quilt design for baby – great idea!

The sweetest and kindest exhibitor has to go to Amy Bradley and her daughter and mother. What a fun crew! They are the kind of people you just know you love instantly. And her work…well, she was a graphic designer first (I’m not biased or anything) and it shows.


Mary Cowan, right, of Mary’s Cottage Quilts

Another trend I noticed was that the freshest designs of the lot were not from good old Moda or Windham Fabrics but from independent start ups – most coming out of Utah. Riley Blake was a huge hit – what a great setup out of Alpine, Utah – and Mary Cowan of Mary’s Cottage Quilts in Sandy, Utah. Another Utah favorite was Abbey Lane Quilts: Marcea Owen and Janice Liljenquist were so friendly and patient with us as we had to touch every. single. thing. My favorite fresh designs outside of Utah were from The Noble Wife. Designer, Jacquelynne Steves and her stalwart husband showed that all of the hotbed of fabric designs is not exclusive to Utah as they hail from Woodstown, New Jersey.

My all-time favorite booth of the show, however, has to go to Melanie Hurlston of Melly & Me. This group from Australia and their lovely accents were not the only thing that attracted me to their booth. I was hooked from the Friday night Sampler Spree and sought them out Saturday to get another hit from their hip wares. The books – all designed and produced by themselves (including the photography!) – were a breath of fresh air. They exuded confidence in their own designs and it just plain didn’t look like everybody else’s version of the latest trends. They were fantastically independent and I cannot toot their horn enough. I will be seeking them out for personal inspiration, graphically speaking, and I don’t even quilt! They totally were the Homecoming Queen of Quilt Market in my book!

Speaking of graphic inspiration, the award for best overall graphic sensibilities in quilting design would have to go to Patrick Lose of Patrick Lose Studios. I had the chance to chat with him and it’s no wonder – he used to teach Graphic Design at a design college in Des Moines, Iowa. Now that’s so close to home, it gave me goose bumps (I’m still a little midwestern home-sick!).


Lizzie B’s groovy peace quilted rug.

Other standouts: Lizzie B Cre8tive – she would have to be runner up for Quilt Market Homecoming Queen – great rugs and all around design. Very eye catching! I also liked Cloud 9 Fabrics, organic and super soft fabrics.

The Miss Congeniality award goes to Laura and Lynnette of Beach Garden Quilts in Seattle. They were wonderfully friendly – like instant best friends – and helped us feel at ease. They have some innovative quilted looking floor mat designs – be sure to check them out.


A quilt in the display section…name anyone?

The only thing left is to recuperate. But I don’t have time. I’ve been so inspired, I have all sorts of graphic design inspiration to work out.

p.s. You can look at all of my Houston Quilt Market pictures at my flickr account.

Motherhood & Mommy Burnout

Feeling physically equipped to have children (but not necessarily to raise them)…but certainly not spiritually equipped today. Ugh. I actually screamed at Bennie before 8 am this morning: “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!?” Ummmm….can you say worn out? No, I do not need sleep – I went to bed at 7:30 p.m. and got up at 4:45 a.m. and it felt great! So why am I not any cheerier, you ask? Well, I am suffering burnout. Mommy burnout. {seconds later} Okay. I’m all perked up. I just sprinted after the trash collector – about 2 houses down – with a huge Rubbermaid trash can (full). I guess this day isn’t going to get much better! Oh well, 1 pt for me: at least I caught him. Guess I just need a good morning run…better head out the door with dog and child in tow.

Oops…Marked You As Spam!

I clicked the wrong button and accidentally deleted some of my favorite comments by marking them as spam. Please don’t take it personally. Can I blame it on bonking my head on the chandelier today?

Back to School Shopping

So it’s time for back-to-school shopping and I am not ready. Not even close to ready. I probably will hope that when we unpack on Friday that relatively new clothes, socks, and underwear will magically appear in my boys’ rooms and they’ll be ready. And shoes? Haven’t even thought about them (well, okay, so I thought about it but only long enough to write it down here!). All I can think about is making sure we have enough cash for closing on our new home on Friday which means not another dime will be spent until after then. Since the mortgage guy quit last week and every good faith estimate has gone up and up in final cash at closing cost per subsequent revision, I think we’d better sit tight until we know the final numbers! Our file has been in limbo-land and we are hoping and praying (and triple checking) to make sure that we don’t fall through the cracks. Friday is 2 days away, people!!! I think I’ll be too tired this weekend but maybe next weekend we can replenish the skivvy drawer if need be for school.

p.s. The jeans above are L.L.Bean’s Katahdin jeans on sale for $12.99. Not bad for the quality! Although, I hear Old Navy has some for $10 this week. Happy online shopping for those of you with the funds!!

Cicadas Everywhere!

Don brought this in ON THE KITCHEN TABLE and it was alive and had just been born. Gross, huh!!! But kinda cool, too. I love this pic – makes me think of the cliche “turning over a new leaf” somehow. These things are neat at a distance but the other day as I was coming home from a run, one hit me right smack in the shin and freaked me out a little. I’m easily bug-freaked. Imagine that.

Porch Ideas & Inspiration

I can’t wait until December…it might be cool enough (not to mention mosquitos) to actually go outside. I dream of sitting on a porch watching my kids play OUTSIDE. The only thing to do here is swim, swim, swim, and it’s not bad but my kids are getting a little bored. I can’t wait to set up a little patio in our new home. There is a concrete area in the driveway separated by a wrought iron gate for the kids to play and a small concrete porch in the back yard off the kitchen. There’s not much room for furniture but some of these ideas have me thinking about what might be possible! Tip: Our realtor told us that if you paint the ceiling of your outdoor porch gray, you won’t get mudwasps building nests up there…only gray. Old wives’ tale or truth (anybody know)? All the pictures are from Better Homes & Gardens.

Check out these outdoor living areas. In my fantasy life, I would have a beautiful outdoor porch with a fireplace. I just love the idea of an actual fireplace (or brick oven!). It seems so much more substantial than a little copper pit, although those can be fun, too. I have a girlfriend who got so desperate for roasted marshmallows that she would roast them in the kitchen over her gas stove! I have another girlfriend who likes S’mores so much she purchased a S’more Maker. Yes, a propane fueled appliance just for S’mores.

The only thing that is missing from these porches is a swing. I have the family porch swing that I used to swing on when I was little. It needs some work but it means so much to me and throws me right back to childhood where my cousin Danny and I would play superheroes on it. He was always Batman or Superman and I was Wonder Woman. Good times.

The last picture I wanted to share a thought on is the idea of a sleeping porch. I have read about sleeping porches before in books and had always thought of them as trashy. I simply lacked imagination. Since visiting our friend’s Highlighter Cabin a couple of summers ago, we love the idea of a sleeping porch. They had a room where we slept where all the windows opened shutter-like and it was basically a screen enclosed porch. It was heaven. Our whole family slept there and it was so peaceful and relaxing. I would love to repeat that night with my family over and over again.

On The Line: Eco-Friendly Clothes Drying

So our first tiny home in Ralston had a clothesline and I miss it very much. I loved our house in Gretna but the neighborhood covenants forbade such an unsightly thing in the yard (and, to be fair, the yards were open for all to see – how’s that for airing dirty laundry?). Our new home’s neighborhood MAY have these types of rules but the backyard is so secluded that nobody could see…and I am excited to dry some of our clothes outside again…when it’s not so humid and they might actually dry! A few of the models at Line Dry It can be used indoors. There is nothing so good as freshly dried, crunchy cotton sheets on your bed! The smell is divine. If you have never tried it, give it a shot – it makes your clothes last longer and saves on energy. I also especially love to dry kitchen towels and tablecloths this way.