Not to brag or anything, but I am a pretty talented person. It’s not bragging when I repeat  back what people have told me over the years. I can sing. I take great pictures. I have beautiful handwriting. I’m a good writer. Oh, and I am a nurse.

Wait, nursing is not a talent?

True, Miss Colorado did not sing or dance or twirl a baton with fire or play a musical instrument. Still her monologue was quite moving; moving enough to be selected in the top ten of the Miss America Pageant.

Yes, I watched it. I was on call Sunday night and just trying to pass the time so why not? I got paid to do it being on call. Again, why not?

Perhaps Kelley Johnson’s talent wasn’t the most talented. Then again, some of the vocalists made bad karaoke at Torii’s sound great…and don’t get me started on the crazy smile while dancing to Bridge Over Troubled Water or the pointe dancer who couldn’t even relevé because once a dance mom always a dance mom. Original, yes. Spoken with a lot of heart and soul. But, yes, perhaps not the best talent performance. The ladies of The View seemed to think so.

Oh Dear Ladies of The View…are y’all enjoying the blow up today on social media? I sure hope so. Please allow me to educate you on a few things because that is one of the many things nurses do…we educate. We even have to document when we educate.

First of all, that is not a costume that we wear. We wear scrubs. We wear scrubs because they are designed to move with us as we go about our duties caring for our patients for 12 or more hours a day or night. They also provide a barrier from blood, poop, vomit and all kinds of body fluids. Kind of. Sort of. They are designed to clean up pretty easily because they are laundered a lot…A LOT…because of blood, poop, vomit and all kinds of body fluids.

Now about that stethoscope…

This is not a doctor’s stethoscope. This one in particular is a nurse’s. Nurses don’t wear them. We USE them. We use them to auscultate or listen….listen to all kinds of things: heart rates and rhythms, clicks and whooshes that might indicate problems with the valves in the heart, air flow that indicates the lungs are working or the endotracheal tube to help a patient breathe is in the right place along with wheezes and crackles that might indicate problems with a patient’s lung function, blood flow through arteries like the carotid, renal, iliac, femoral and the aorta, bowel sounds or perhaps the absence of bowel sounds. We use them as a percussion instrument when measuring the span of the liver. They also can help to check reflexes and can be used as a hearing aid in a pinch. In the NICU we most definitely don’t wear our stethoscopes. We don’t even carry them as each of our tiny patients have their own at their bedside because of infection…so that means it is not a doctor’s stethoscope or a nurse’s or a respiratory therapist’s, it’s the BABY’S!

Being a nurse requires a lot of education (which never does end), skill, intelligence, patience, civility, wisdom, guts, a very strong stomach and talent. It is something that a lot of people can not do…much like some people can’t sing…or perhaps should not sing…ever…just saying.

I won’t lie, I was a little pissed off at the dismissive, mocking tone the ladies of The View had regarding Ms Johnson sharing her passion which was no different than other contestants sharing their passions in the talent portion of the pageant. Okay, fine. I was a lot pissed off. What Ms Johnson does, what any nurse does every day (or night), what I do is amazing. We save lives…each and every day.

Today is National Neonatal Nurses Day and I was reminded all day today by families of some of my most favorite patients of that truth…and how damn lucky I am to be a part of their lives…lives I cared for.

To the ladies of The View, like Miss Colorado, and like the more than 19.3 million women and men all across the globe, my talent is nursing.

I save the lives of tiny humans for a living…and what is it you do?

all we really needed to know we learned at dance competitions

Um, actually no. All we really needed to know we did learn in kindergarten just like Robert Fulghum said. But while dancing competitively and supporting that competitive dancer all these years we certainly put it all into practice.

As Jodie is packing away her costumes and cleaning out her makeup box we are finding ourselves both reflecting on the last seven seasons. It seems like it was only last week or so that we were packing those dance bags for her very first competition. Yet here we are, reflecting on all that we learned and have put into practice at dance competitions and, I imagine, will continue to in real life.

Jodie learned very quickly to be gracious always in victory and in defeat. At one of her very first competitions, we witnessed first hand a sweet little dancing snowflake express her disappointment in the judges’ result by smashing her trophy in the parking lot as her dance mommy did her best to soothe her angry, disappointed snowflake. Jodie observed correctly (before I could even say a word) that if she did that she would likely never be allowed to dance again.

True that!

Through the years, Jodie has scored many trophies, ribbons, plaques and pins as the shelves her daddy installed above her dance barre prove. The diamonds, platinums, lightning golds, high golds and golds she is very proud of and were all accepted graciously and humbly. But not to be forgotten are the emeralds, high silvers and silvers which were also accepted with gratitude. At Nationals this last week she received a high silver for one of the dances that she danced in. Disappointed? Oh yes she was…very much so…but one would never know watching her accept that award and shake the judge’s hand nor did they know as she left the stage and walked with me back to our hotel room that night.

As with any competitive sport/activity, Jodie learned to be responsible for her own crap, er, equipment, shoes, makeup, costumes, props. Sure I helped over the years to take inventory, pack it up, hang them up and carry them everywhere we should go; but ultimately everything she needed for dance was her responsibility. Her teachers taught her that as did her parents because are we really going to be there to take care of all these things as she goes out on those auditions? Um, no.

Being part of something bigger than herself, Jodie learned a lot about what it really means to be a part of a team. One must show up and honor their obligations to the people who are depending on them to show up and give their all to the team effort. Sadly, a few times while dancing competitively she has been partnered with dancers who sometimes just didn’t show up physically or mentally. It was hard for her and the rest of the team to fill in those gaps but they did. Under their teacher’s instruction and their families encouragement, they learned that is what you do when you are a part of a team…as you do in real life.

She also learned that everyone really is replaceable.

Opportunities have come and gone. Thanks to her teachers’ instruction, encouragement and connections, Jodie has taken classes, learned choreography and danced with a lot of professional dancers and choreographers and she has taken each opportunity as a chance to learn, grow and make friends. Not once has she ever taken for granted these opportunities.

And as with awards and critiques, be gracious always for those opportunities for you never know where they might take you.

Much has been learned over the years. It is bound to take her far in  life through many adventures whether she be on stage or not.

A friend of mine, whose daughter wants to dance competitively, asked me recently what was she getting herself into. I assured her that there will be all kinds of money spent, all kinds of drama, all kinds of exhaustion guaranteed. I also promised her there would be so many teachable moments for her little girl on the dance floor, in the studio and traveling on the road. Adventures definitely await her and her tiny dancer; and with an open heart and mind and a willingness to work hard and learn much god only knows where they will end up.

For us, for Jodie, the next part of the adventure is just beginning.





what happens in Vegas (with children at dance nationals)

Well, you know how the saying goes.

Most of the drama, the marley burn, the sunburn, the blood, sweat and tears, the headaches and especially all that water under the bridge we are leaving behind on the dance floor…as every good dancer does. It is our final dance competition, dance nationals as dancer and dance mom and yes, there was all of that and more that happened here in Las Vegas.

I wouldn’t want to go through this eight year-long adventure with anyone but my tiny dancer.

But let us all pause briefly and take note that I look so damn skinny in this picture standing next to my daughter who dances for hours every day. I did. We did.

Because what happens in Vegas stays there…for now…until we get home. That’s going to be a whole ‘nother adventure.

we are THAT family

Here we are at the Green Valley Mountain Resort for Nationals!


This place is glorious! Off the strip, in Henderson, away from all the glitz, glamour and depravity and despair that is the Vegas that we love and not love so much, this is the perfect place I am thinking for a Dance Nationals Competition and Convention.

I’ll try to post pictures and a more fair assessment after my favorite dancers have done a little bit of dancing and competing later. For now I am exhausted. Literally. The last 36 hours I have had perhaps a couple hours of sleep choosing instead to kiss my favorite son and see him off to his seaside adventure and annual spoiling thanks to Auntie Toni followed by packing and driving through the night to get here in Las Vegas…er, Henderson.It really seemed like a great idea, driving all night with a 2 year old and a 6 year old crammed into a car loaded with so much dancer stuff. It really was a great idea as everyone, but the driver (me), did get some sleep.along the way.

SOME” being emphasized here.

Oh, and no one judge me for leaving a bag of barf along the roadside somewhere in between the middle of nowhere and Yermo, California.

Nevertheless, we are here…

yeah, we are THAT family. You pretty much KNOW that we are here, no matter where we are, because 6 year old and 2 year old sisters and exhausted mommies.

Perhaps after a good night’s sleep…

Good night!


little me

Last summer when Hazey-Face auditioned for the Dance Stars team, she told her dance coach that more than anything she wished to do a duet with her Auntie Jodie.

She really does look up to Jodie.

Kind of hard not to when your auntie’s feet seem to rarely touch the ground.

Since this was to be Jodie’s last recital as student and teacher, Hazel’s wish was granted today.

Little me

Yeah you got a lot of time to act your age,
You cannot write a book from a single page,
Hands on the clock only turn one way,

Run too fast and risk it all,
Can’t be afraid to take a fall,
Felt so big but you looked so small,

Wish I knew back then,
What I know now,
Wish I could somehow,
Go back in time and maybe listen to my own advice…

You gotta speak up, you gotta shout out,
And know that right here, right now,
You can be beautiful, wonderful,
Anything you wanna be,

Little me

How fitting that they would choose this song, Little Me, since Hazel is basically Jodie’s mini-me. True story, at dance competitions people backstage will ask if Hazel is Jodie’s little girl…which would mean that Jodie was a mommy at age 12…

Um, NO!

Not that I have never seen that happen. Sadly, I have. Jodie would have been so grounded forever if that ever happened to her. Don’t think I wouldn’t. Why not ask if they are sisters…you know, since they share the same last name?

I’m sorry.

There I go again, off on another tangent.

Back to the sweetness…

Isn’t this so sweet?

Aren’t they just adorable?

Don’t they just make you want to cry because of the sweetness, the tenderness, and the years just blurring by as we witness the magical moment between Jodie and her Little Me?

Hazel’s mommy and I have decided that these two are so grounded for like forever for making us (and pretty much everyone in the audience) cry today.

Thankfully, their dance coach knew this just might wring my already emotional because-it-is-Jodie’s-last-recital heart out and she was prepared with her gift to me.

Today I learned that after nine years of dancing and recitals and competing, when it is your kid’s last dance recital as student and teacher, you get wine…because Dance Moms do like their wine. Harmony knows me so well…perhaps too well.

Jodie and Hazel are still in so much trouble.