Archive for September, 2014

Smith family fix

The kids and I met Tom and Katie downtown for the KU homecoming parade Friday night. Up next, we have plans to see a home game (I hope!).


Olivia fix

Hard at work at her easel.


Weekend update

Last week was A Challenge. It would have been a comedy of errors, if not the for the tragedy that made its way in midweek. While we nursed sad hearts, life around us went on–though perhaps not as we’d have preferred.

The hermit crab died on Sunday, Ava spent the first part of the week with strep, then Owen came down with a virus that took up residence in his trachea. We had more than one middle-of-the-night discussion about ER visits due to breathing issues, and an acute lack of sleep to make it a little more difficult to deal with everything at hand.

I’m not entirely sure what happened with the crab—a few weeks ago, she seemed to want to change shells, but wouldn’t commit to the extra we had tucked into her substrate. I bought three additional shells in varying sizes, but by early the next week, she’d stopped burrowing. When I told Olivia that she didn’t make it, she was devastated, upping the Smith family pet body count to six (a guppy from Girl Scouts, four county fair goldfish, and now the crab). She looked at me accusatorially and said, “How is the CAT, Mom? Is SHE okay?” Ava handled it a bit better, noting that she’d been doing research on chinchillas.

Ava’s illness–the third one related to her tonsils in as many months–netted her an appointment with an ENT. Next week, they’ll evaluate her for a tonsillectomy. She’s thrilled; she’s heard you’re only allowed ice cream and popsicles for days. She didn’t miss any school, though only because classes weren’t held on Monday. By Friday, she was glad to attend the KU volleyball game with me and and her friend Sophia. Come that Friday morning, Owen was perhaps the sickest he’s ever been, and his swollen trachea made it hard for him to breathe. One strong dose of steroids and a lot of ibuprofen helped substantially, and by Saturday morning, he was feeling much better. While I had to miss a substantial part of a very busy work week, I will admit that the downtime spent holding a sweet baby made it a bit less stressful.

Ava and Olivia marched in the KU Band Day parade on Saturday morning with their Girl Scout troops, but the rest of the weekend was blessedly quiet aside from some yard work and errands. Given the work missed last week, I sent my event coordinator in my place to our Texas events, which start today. I was disappointed not to travel, but it seemed to make more sense to stay at home. We will head to Nebraska on Wednesday for Thursday services.  Despite the circumstances, I’m very much looking forward to seeing our families.

Lyle Eugene Dankleff

My grandpa passed away earlier this week, and while it was perhaps not unexpected, it is heart wrenching. I’ve spent a couple of days looking through the boxes of photos and mementos that Grandma sent home with me before she died. The process has been alternatively comforting and terribly sad.

While I can’t offer many cohesive thoughts on the matter at this point, I did want to share a portion of a note from my Grandma, the photo that was near, and Grandpa’s obituary.

“There is no way you can tell someone else your love story, but I hope these two boxes help explain Lyle and I to all of you left behind.”


Lyle Eugene Dankleff of Avoca, Neb., died at the Good Samaritan Center in Syracuse, Neb., on September 15, 2014. He was born to John and Bernice (Mendenhall) Dankleff on November 14, 1932, in Avoca, and grew up in Nebraska.

Lyle married Carol Ann Wallen on July 20, 1952. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953 and served in Korea. He received many medals and honors, including a Korean Service Medal with a Bronze Service Star, a United Nations Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.

Lyle and Carol enjoyed nearly 50 years of marriage before Carol died in 2001. Lyle was a farmer, and he worked tirelessly for more than six decades to cultivate the land. One of his great joys was time spent fishing with his family. He also liked to trap, and he loved card games with good friends. He read voraciously, studied the weather closely and took exceptional care of the wild birds that called his farm home.

He is survived by his son Gary and daughter-in-law Rose (Syracuse); his son Greg (McCook, Neb.); granddaughter Rebecca Smith, her husband Bryan and great grandchildren Ava, Olivia and Owen (Lawrence, Kan.); granddaughter Katie Pasniewski and her husband Tom (Lawrence, Kan.); granddaughter Lindsey Miltner and her husband Matthew (Denver, Colo.); and grandson Christopher Dankleff, Taylor Berner and their daughter Addisyn Berner (Unadilla, Neb.). He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, and his brothers Robert and Richard.

“Bed? What’s that? No, I’m not doing that.”

With credit to Jim Gaffigan for the above, let me share a list of diversionary tactics from Owen’s pre-bedtime routine this evening, and how they were met:

“I need a banana.” (Provided a banana.)

“I need milk.” (Provided milk; required a second trip downstairs.)

“I need Daddy.” (Assured him Dad wasn’t necessary.)

“I want to go to bed in Mommy’s bed.” (Snuggled in my bed for a bit…mostly because I’M tired.)

“I need ‘Lassie.’ One more time.” (Sang “Lassie” for the third time; noted Owen doesn’t yet understand the difference between “again” and “one more time.”)

“Daddy! No. Mommy.” (Sighed deeply. Resumed singing.)

“No ‘Lassie.'” (Quit singing.)

“I need Daddy.” (Admitted defeat. Called for Bryan. Continued to rock.)

“Light on.” (Ha. Nope. Not falling for that.)

“‘Lassie.’ One more time.” (One more time, just until Daddy arrived.)

Sweet dreams, little buddy.


With love from Kansas

There’s a sunflower field in full bloom just northeast of town, and it is gorgeous. We visited at sunset on Saturday night, along with the rest of the city (it was hilariously crowded–we’re lucky they’re not in these shots, too). Hard to pass up such beauty, I suppose. Kansas is amazing. 

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It was a nice nod to the close of a gorgeous summer. Now, football’s underway, temperatures will drop to the 60s late this week, and there’s a closetful of sweaters and boots just begging to be worn. The best is yet to come. 



Livie Lou fix

Rather grown up these days…


Throwback Thursday

From a road trip in December 2009. So over it…

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A few words from your newly elected official…