Tuesday, May 31, 2011


High school graduation parties have changed a lot in 8 years. Or else my baby brother is just the coolest out of the 4 of us siblings! I got to make a whirlwind trip to Omaha to celebrate and see family and old friends yesterday. (By the way, a shout out to a few awesome Aunts who I didn't know read my blog until yesterday!)

Chocolate on chocolate- he has good taste
The cool kids avoiding the adults
Mom and me (should've gotten one with Dad, too)
It was so fun to see people and to look through Bobby's scrapbook and graduation video. So many cute old pictures!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


...Clearly, I either have too much of it on my hands, or not enough. In an effort to enjoy the summertime weather we're having (and to make a dent in my must-do list), I'm going on a computer fast. I will still check my e-mail (and, let's face it, Facebook) once a day. But blogs and Twitter are a no go for the next week. Wish me luck!

(Replace Tumblr with Google reader and you have the gist of my days off)

To fill my time before leaving town again this weekend, I have to:

-Finish my grad school acceptance paperwork (an impressive stack of forms- one even requires a notary to sign it.)
-Get my allergy shot.
-Apply for a Missouri RN license. (I have to do it for school, but I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner because this whole to-do list would obviously be less of a priority than disaster relief in Joplin. But alas, no license, no helping apparently.)
-Donate blood. (The only way I can help with disaster relief at this point.)
-Clean this apartment! I made headway today with the piles of dishes and laundry, but it still needs a good scrubdown. We've been gone so much (and so busy when we are here) that cleaning has fallen off the radar.
-Run (probably best to do this before donating blood).
-Lift weights with my cousin. For real. I just hope he doesn't laugh at me when I reach for the   8  5 pound handweights.
-Errands including the dry cleaners and grocery store.
-Make healthy meals to eat for the next 3 days when I work.
-Go to small group!


Monday, May 23, 2011

Close to Home

Saturday night, I got home from work at sat down in front of the computer to catch up on the season finales of the few shows I follow. Around 11:00, I heard tornado sirens. Fortunately (?) they're RIGHT next to our apartment, so I definitely heard them. Usually I don't hear them if I'm inside somewhere. Anyway, I looked online and saw that a thunderstorm with high winds was in Gardener and slowly moving towards KC and we were under a tornado warning.

Everyone from the surrounding apartments was streaming toward the clubhouse to hide in the one windowless room- the bathroom. Yuck. I called my aunt and headed over there, thinking their basement would be better than a crowded bathroom if it came down to it.  In true Therese style, the thought "oh my gosh what if I never get to come back to my apartment?" ran through my head, but I didn't have the faintest idea what to actually grab and take in this scenario. Because obviously our top-floor apartment is safe in a flood, but not in a tornado. I settled for my computer and Advair inhaler (I was tired?) and headed out.

The whole thing was anticlimactic and we sat in my aunt's living room with my cousins and watched Saturday Night Live with occasional storm updates. When the warning expired at midnight, I headed home. The point of my rambling, though, is that last night many residents in Joplin, MO didn't see such an anticlimactic evening after the tornado sirens went off.

Joplin is a town of 50,000 people and it's only 160 miles south of here. Less than a 3 hour drive. The fact that it's so close to home makes me wish for a house with a basement and an emergency-preparedness stash (I would add a metal crowbar to this list as well, in the even that you have to pry yourself out of rubble).

My friend Tiffany is married to a firefighter trained in search and rescue, so he's headed down tomorrow. He gave me the number for doctors and nurses to call if they want to help (it's 417-832-9500 but don't call until I've gotten through! lol. The line has been busy all morning). If you have a Missouri license, you can register to help at www.showmeresponse.org.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I'm going to be a Midwiffer!

Of course, the correct term is Midwife*. Nurse Midwife. And apparently I need to set the record straight. I was talking about grad school to one of my peers at work (a very intelligent fellow nurse, mind you) and she said, "but you won't be a Nurse Practitioner, will you?" Ummm. Yes, I will.**

Nurse Midwives are the Advanced Practice Nurse version of an OB-GYN but obviously, given the long and rich history of midwifery, they tend to practice with a more holistic (but no less scientific) view. I am not training to be a lay Midwife or a Doula. Those are respectable jobs in their own right, but I will be practicing under an Advanced Practice nursing license and will not be doing home births or anything like that. (Nothing against home births, but under the scope of nursing practice, I'm not sure you can practice under your license at a home birth in most states.)

So what will I be doing? Hopefully, wherever I end up getting a job, I will be able to follow my patients from the start of pregnancy, through the labor and delivery, and even follow-up with the baby up to 60 days post-birth. My fellow nurses may not know what I'm getting into, but one of our physicians came from a hospital on the east coast that used Midwives and when he heard I was starting grad school, he told me that Nurse Midwives were the second-highest paid Advanced Practitioners, right behind Nurse Anesthetists. (I'm sure it's because the malpractice insurance is through the roof, for good reason.) But it's nice to know that our doctors know what I'm talking about.

Midwifery is, in a sense, the oldest occupation. Women have always been helping other women through childbirth. In modern-day society, midwives attend 70% of all births in the six countries with the lowest infant mortality rates (including Denmark, Holland, and Sweden).*** As of 2004 in the US, midwives only attend 5% of births and we rank 26th worldwide in infant mortality. (There are approximately 1 million factors going into America's shockingly low rank, but I like to think that expanding and encouraging the practice of midwifery could help a little).

SO. This fall, I'm starting what could be 3 years of difficult schooling. I say "could" because I'm still oh-so-in-love with the babies I work with and I'm not entirely sure I can leave them. Only time will tell!

*Ross likes to say 'midwiffer' since I say 'Nurse Midwifery school' all the time.

**Technically, there are 4 categories of Advanced Practice Nursing: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner (NP), and Nurse Anesthetist. So technically, I will not be an NP but an equally advanced practitioner with autonomy and prescriptive abilities, thankyouverymuch.

*** http://unstats.un.org

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's a Jungle out There!

Google image
I was so tired this morning and didn't want to go to work today, but one of the little goobers I was taking care of totally turned my day around. It was definitely one of my favorite NICU moments thus far.

This sweet baby has been in the NICU for a bit and he's doing really well. Mid-morning, he was so awake and alert that I decided to take his isolette cover off and just put a jungle-themed fleece blanket from his mom over the top instead.

Google image
(The light-occluding white quilted bed covers help us keep our sickest babies under strictly minimal stimulation, but as the babies get older and more stable they need to learn the day/night cycle so we just put a thinner blanket over the isolette to keep light from shining directly into their eyes.)

So anyway, he's watching me switch the blankets and when he sees the light shining through the fleece, illuminating the monkey silhouettes on his blanket, his jaw literally dropped in pleasure and his eyes were darting every which way because he finally had something to look at! He was so stinking excited! I wish he'd had a nanny cam in his crib it was so darn cute. Anyone who thinks baby facial expressions are all by accident would learn a lot with this sweet boy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

State Champions

Yesterday, Bobby finished his high school and soccer career with a bang. Prep and Grand Island, both undefeated, played a stellar soccer game last night at the state finals.

Grand Island scored about 8 minutes in and kept that 0-1 lead the entire first half. Thankfully, Prep tied in the second half with a penalty kick and then took the lead a little later with a great goal, finishing the season undefeated and with the first soccer state title since 2003!

beautiful weather for a soccer game
serious talking at halftime
State Champs!
Of course, Prep students rushed the field despite instructions not to. It was fun to watch!

Bobby getting his medal:


So proud.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Graduation x 2

On Saturday, my brother Daniel graduated from college.  When did he go from this:

2007 high school graduation
Daniel and me
to this?!
2011 college graduation
Then on Sunday, my baby brother Bobby graduated from high school.  When did he go from this:

circa 1994
to this:
first day of high school in 2007

to this:
before senior prom group pictures
and this?!

2011 high school graduation

I have known these boys since kindergarten

His graduation is a little harder to swallow because when I left home for college, he was in 4th grade. And now HE'S the one about to leave!

I love you boys, and I'm so proud of both of you this weekend!

His older sister?!

I will say, amidst feeling old because my baby brother is out of high school, it was nice to meet his friend's moms and hear them say, "you're 8 years older than Bobby? I would've guessed you were 19!"

I got this repeatedly.

I guess I feel a little better, in a shallow sort of way.

Thank you, mom and dad, for encouraging me to eat my vegetables and wear sunscreen!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

These are my People

I may be crazy, I'm starting another blog in addition to this one. At Ross' grandma's funeral this week, the pastor kept mentioning what a great legacy Florence left behind: so many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A family filled with faith and family-centered values. After the funeral, we all sat at a relative's house ohh-ing and ahh-ing and laughing over old pictures. What a treasure!

I know I did several school projects growing up involving talking to my own grandparents and learning "their stories." I do remember loving the assignments, and I remember some details of their stories, but I've already forgotten others. So I thought, how great would it be to trace my family tree and Ross' family tree as far back into living memory as we can?

It's quite the undertaking, I know. But I'm really excited about it. If we don't scan in these old pictures and collect these stories in one place, who will? I'm interested in the stories behind the family tree. So family, you can expect some nosy e-mails, lunch dates, and photo requests in the coming months...
Check out the initial stages by clicking *here*

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Montage

With the recent loss of Ross' mom's mom and the 1-year anniversary of the death of a beloved NICU mom this month, I've learned that I take my own mother for granted and that's the last thing I should be doing. I'm terribly ungrateful sometimes and I act as if it's an annoyance to talk to my parents. I realize I'm beyond blessed to have them in my life, but old habits die hard. I'm sorry!

So in honor of Mother's Day, here are some of my favorite memories of my mom and me in no particular order:

-The year (1995?) we wore matching Laura Ashley dresses for Easter. I may have acted awkward and embarrassed, but I secretly thought it was so cool! (Next time I'm in Omaha, I need to scan that picture into the computer!)

-The year (2001?) both of us rode our bikes across Nebraska with my dad and two of my brothers. I'm still proud of you, mom! And it was nice to have some female company amidst all the guy talk.

-Countless baking episodes, most recently baking the desserts for my cousin's wedding shower in February.

-Every single time she came to a ballet recital, soccer game, softball game, volleyball game, cross-country meet, and track meet. Which is 99.9% of the time. Even though I was never a sports star (the closest I came was junior year on varsity volleyball which hopefully spiced things up a little), she was always in the stands making me feel like a rockstar.

I'll keep adding to this list in my journal, but I wanted you to know that I do love you, Mom, even if I don't always act like I do! And when I'm awkward and embarrassed, it's because I secretly love hanging out with you and I'm apparently still too immature to show it.

I also want to say Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful ever-wise Grandmothers! I loved getting spoiled by them when I was younger, and I'm so lucky (and spoiled) that they're still a part of my life.

Grandma G:
-I love all the post-Thanksgiving Valentino's parties, the Oreos, the farm stories, and your sense of humor.

Grandma S:
-I love your baking, waffles the morning after sleeping over, donuts on my birthday, and the fact that you still want me to sit on your lap even if I crush you.

What's your favorite memory of you and your mom or grandma?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Play it Sweet in Heaven

Ross' grandmother passed away early yesterday morning, and I'm in the unique position of finding the person I love mourning for someone they loved. I met his grandma several times, but never got to know her extremely well in the last four years because her health has been failing. Heading to New Mexico for a funeral is not the happiest Mother's Day gift for Ross' family, but perhaps it's fitting that all of Florence's children and grandchildren will be together on Mother's Day, celebrating her life.

Me, Emily, Grandma, and Ross June 2009
Ross and I leave for the funeral early tomorrow morning and in a way, I'm looking forward to hearing all the happy stories that seem to come out during the times surrounding the funeral of a loved one. I can't wait to get to know her better, even if it is retrospectively. After all, she raised my mother-in-law and her siblings, whom I love dearly.

My overwhelming memories of my Grandpa Joe's funeral were not of sadness, but of joy. He fought the good fight and we celebrated his life on a cold weekend in February. At the end of the funeral Mass, I was reading a prayer he kept in his back pocket when he first got diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and the clouds literally parted and a ray of sun shot through the stained glass windows of the church right onto my Grandma Ginny and their 5 children. It was absolutely breathtaking and we all felt Grandpa's presence there.

I hope Ross' family experiences similar signs of love and comfort this weekend.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Best Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

On days like today (cold, cloudy, and rainy despite the fact that it's May already) the urge to bake is much, much stronger than the urge to fit in a good workout. The apartment treadmill is broken so the only option is to run outside. And let's face it, it's cold outside and I'm sick of it. I seem to work on the warm, sunny days and have the grody ones off.

Anyway. Make these. They're amazing, if I do say so myself. Ross agrees.

Grain-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
2 Tbs. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 Tbs. butter (1/4 cup)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix butter, egg, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add almond meal, quinoa flakes, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat well. Add chocolate chips and stir until incorporated.

Roll into balls (if the dough is too sticky, we your hands first) and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes. Makes 12 cookies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

30 Things That Make Me Happy

Grief is a funny thing, and I feel like an impostor. I know that my grief spilling over after a tragic week at work is only a tiny drop in the ocean of grief those parents and families are feeling right now. In a way, I'm grieving FOR the parents' loss much more than my own. On a larger scale, even these deaths are insignificant compared to tornado devastation in Alabama and even larger losses throughout the world due to weather, war, poverty, and disease.

Here's where I start to get overwhelmed. If I let myself, I will grieve for the world and try to carry it all in my heart. But not only is that impossible, it's impractical. It's wonderful to be aware of the larger world, but I am only one person. I can only help where I can, how I can. I can strive to make a world of difference to a few, or a tiny difference to the world. It's important to balance both of those desires, but right now, overwhelmed with circumstances close to me, I must chose the former: to make a difference to those around me. But to do that, I cannot draw within myself. That serves no one.

I know no list of joys can replace grief, but I found that making this list gave me some perspective in my own life. I highly recommend it. And on the larger scale, isn't it nice to celebrate things like royal weddings and victories in the war against terror alongside local disasters? (By the way, does anyone else imagine that maybe today is like the day baby Harry Potter shattered Voldemort and everyone was rejoicing? No? Just me?)

I digress. Here's my list:

1. Being there when a mom holds her baby for the first time
2. Being there when a dad holds his baby for the first time
3. Inadvertent newborn baby smiles
4. Genuine gummy older-baby smiles
5. A baby grabbing your finger and holding on tight
6. Hungry babies licking your neck or arm when you hold them
7. Babies who stop crying when you touch or hold them
8. Cookie dough
9. Warm cookies
10. Trying a new recipe and discovering that Ross and I both love it
11. Sushi! Particularly at Piranha Sushi in Sundance Square with good company.
12. The Reata... especially the jalapeno mac'n'cheese and dessert bread pudding tamales. And the bread basket. And the awesome "this is so typically Texan" atmosphere.
13. Del Frisco's cheesecake
14. Long runs on a trail. Namely, the Keystone or Trinity Trail.
16. Sunrises
17. Sunsets
18. Green things (to look at and to eat)
19. Farmer's markets
20. Free bread at Great Harvest
21. The smell of fresh bread
22. The smell of onions and garlic sauteing
23. Outdoor pools
24. Swimming
25. Biking on a trail (so I don't have to worry about traffic)
26. Houses with yards and trees and gardens
27. The library
28. A good book
29. Real friends
30. Family

Sunday, May 1, 2011


You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist.
You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept.
You doubled-knotted.
You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.
You ran. 5Ks, 10Ks, 13.1 miles, 26.2 miles.
Some day more, some day less.
You rewarded a long run with a short run.
And a short run with a long run.
Rain tried to slow you.
Sun tried to microwave you.
Snow made you feel like a warrior.
You cramped. You bonked.
You paid no mind to comfort.
On weekends. On holidays.
You made excuses to keep going.
You questioned yourself.
Played mind games.
Put your heart before your knees.
Listened to your breathing.
Sweat sunscreen into your eyes.
You hit the wall.
You ran through it.
You decided to be a woman about it.
Finished what you started.
Proved what you were made of.
Just kept putting mile after miles on your internal odometer.
You are a runner.
You do it because you can.
You will do it for as long as you can.

Truffle Shuffle 5k- March 2010
I run for life and when I'm running, I love life a little more. I have three younger brothers and active parents who have all kept me going over the years. I played volleyball my first three years of high school and decided to join the track team my junior year. I made some amazing friends and fell in love with running. So much so, that I gave up my guaranteed position in varsity volleyball the fall of my senior year and joined the cross-country team. The winter of my senior year, I ran 13.1 miles on the trail by my house, just for fun. I ran track that spring and even won two medals! 2nd place in the 1600 meter (1 mile) run and 1st place in the 3200 meter run. (I was a senior and this was a JV meet, but still).

Running fell by the wayside after my first semester of college and after several false starts (running for a few weeks and then stopping) in the last few years, I finally consider myself a runner again (7 years after my initial 'half-marathon').

I ran my first 10k with my dad on September 26, 2010 and my first half marathon with my friend Emily on November 21, 2010.

I was training for the Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon in February 2011. Emily (my best friend from high school) and I wanted to run 26 miles with me as a celebration of our 26th birthdays-- hers was in December 2010 and mine was April 2011. We both went to TCU and fell in love with Ft. Worth so the marathon would have been a good excuse to go back for a visit, since we live in different states now.

However, I need some more time to work on endurance, asthma control, and injury prevention, but I still hope to run a marathon one day. I'm turning this 'page' into a post now, because I'm getting a blog makeover and running isn't as central to my blog as it used to be.

Here are some of my blog posts about running, getting back into shape, and training for my first marathon:

Set Your Intentions

Marathon Decision

Eat, Sleep, Run

One Moment in Time

Truffle Shuffle 5k Race Recap

Back Injury I

Back Injury II

Bikram Yoga

Back in the Saddle

Garmin Grins

Keep on Keepin' On

Girls on the Run 5k Race Recap

Learning to Chill

Daily Affirmation

Reflections thus far: On Becoming a Runner

Run the Good Race 5k Race Recap


100 Miles

This Morning

So Much Stronger Than You Think

Third Time's a Charm


Own It (4 miles) 

High Five (5 miles)
A Little Girl Said I Was a Fast Runner

Not all Runs are Good (6 miles)

Epic: My First 10k! Omaha Marathon 10k Race Recap.

The 7 Mile Run that Wasn't (knee injury)

Learning to Listen to my Body

Reflections thus far: From 1 Minute to 10 Miles!

Doubt + Burnout

Asthma Flare-up

Your Life is Now (12 miles)

What Running Means to Me (13.1 miles)

Gobbler Grind 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Sanctuary of Hope 5k- June 2010
“If there is no struggle, there can be no progress.” -Martin Luther King

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’.” -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner

“You can either throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.” -Gatorade ad

“Someone who is busier than you is running right now.” -Nike ad

"This is my body. And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it, study it, tweak it, listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?" -Lance Armstrong

“Sweat cleanses from the inside. It comes from places a shower will never reach.” -Dr. George Sheehan

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves. The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable." -Sir Roger Bannister, first man to break the four-minute mile

“Even if I don’t reach any of my goals, I’ve gone higher than I would have if I hadn’t set any” -Danielle Fotopoulos, soccer player

Around mile 8.5 of the Gobbler Grind 1/2 Marathon- November 2010
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” -Dale Carnegie

"I've never regretted going for a run, but I have regretted skipping one." -Chris Beck

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham

Me and Emily after our first half marathon (the Gobbler Grind)- November 2010

Click here to follow my training on dailymile.com