ABQ Moms Guide to Dentists & Orthodontists

guide to orthodontists and dentists in Albuquerque area

As soon as those first little baby teeth start to sprout, parents start to have questions about their kiddo’s teeth! How soon do we take them to the dentist? How often do they need a checkup? What if they need corrective measures? How do I combat cavities? What if my child is afraid of the dentist?

There are many wonderful dentists, orthodontists, and specialists who are passionate about taking care of the whole family’s teeth.  Our goal with this guide is to bring your family a one-stop listing for Albuquerque area dental professionals. We are excited to partner with some great local businesses to provide you with this Guide to Dentists & Orthodontists.

Harnick Orthodontics

10425 Montgomery Parkway, Albuquerque 87111

8631 Golf Course Rd NW, Suite F, Albuquerque 87114

Do want to enjoy a healthy, confident smile? Come on over to one of our two convenient orthodontic offices in East and West Albuquerque and let us give you a reason to smile more!

Dr. Harnick has practiced orthodontics in Albuquerque for over 25 years. His daughter, Dr. Harnick recently joined the practice as well, so we now have two outstanding doctors to serve you.

Our team is committed to helping our patients achieve beautiful, confident smiles to take on the world! Our staff is specially trained to provide outstanding orthodontic services to our patients. This orthodontic practice boasts state-of-the-art orthodontic equipment and a caring, professional staff in a friendly environment.

We know you’ll feel right at home as soon as you step through our doors. If you have any questions or concerns before, during or after your treatment, please do not hesitate to ask one of our knowledgeable team members.

ABQ Pediatric Dentistry

4620 Jefferson Lane NE, Suite C, Albuquerque 87109

At ABQ Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dentist, Dr. Audrey Navarro Rawson is a mom too!

Dr. Rawson is Board-Certified and a Diplomate with the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry with years of experience in pediatric dentistry and early childhood education. As a mom of two daughters, Dr. Rawson understands that parenthood can be an exciting, challenging and fulfilling journey. She practices what she preaches and shares real-life advice to parents regarding oral health, diet, and nutrition. You can rest assured that your child is in the best of hands at ABQ Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr. Rawson and her friendly team are proud to practice compassionate dentistry with a conservative approach that focuses on prevention and optimal dental health for your child.

We strongly encourage parents to bring children to our office no later than age 1 or when the first tooth emerges (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry). This allows us to get a great start to your child’s dental health by focusing on prevention of dental decay. It also allows us to build rapport and excitement about future visits. Parents are always welcome to accompany their child during all dental visits. Dr. Rawson recommends going to a pediatric dentist because we are the ‘pediatricians of dentistry’. Dr. Rawson has had additional years of specialty training following dental school and limits her practice to treating infants, children, adolescents, and those with special healthcare needs.

Please visit our Web site or give our friendly team a call – we would love to meet you and your kiddos!

Essenmacher Family Dental

6830 Montgomery Blvd NE Ste D, Albuquerque 87109

We provide family dental care from 1 to 110! We pride ourselves on providing compassionate and gentle care at honest fees in a modern and comfortable environment.

Some of our services include: routine dental cleanings and exams, gum disease treatments, fillings, crowns, root canals, implants, clear aligners (invisible braces), veneers, teeth whitening, dentures, partials, extractions, and All-on-4 (complete tooth replacement with implants). We love forming long-term relationships with our patients and their families, and it would be an honor to serve you and yours! Make sure to check out what our patients are saying about us on Google!

Additional Dental Providers

Do you want to be part of our Guide to Dentists & Orthodontists?

*Disclaimer :: This post is sponsored by our featured dental providers. We truly appreciate the local community’s support of ABQ Mom and we choose to work with brands and businesses we believe would benefit our readers.

Do you know of any dental providers we missed? Email us with all the details at [email protected]

Part of our mission is to help connect Albuquerque moms (and dads too!) with local businesses, and that includes all of the dental providers in our area. Partnering with us allows your business greater visibility with a large targeted market of local families. Get in touch to learn about this and other partnership opportunities!

Caring for my Children Doesn’t Make Me Less Motivated


I’m currently in school, working, taking care of my home, and caring for my children. I love being a mom, but mom life doesn’t make me less motivated to achieve my goals. Maybe it even makes me more motivated!

I recently saw an article that talked about a mom breastfeeding while she’s in class, and the professor shaming her for it.

How sad. How sad that he did that. Moms don’t get enough credit to begin with. I feel like I do all these things big and small and crave to hear “Wow, you did all that? You go, mama.”

Caring for my children doesn't make me less motivatedWhen I read the article I thought, “Gosh, this is me. I am this woman.” If it wasn’t for online classes or support that I’ve had, I would have had a much harder time finishing school.

The week I gave birth to my son, I had class. My class, just like the rest of the world, did not stop for me. I was in the hospital the day I had class. I had every intention to attend, but I was so tired. So I skipped class.

You may be thinking, “Well, you were having a baby.” Truth is, there are some professors that don’t care. Luckily, mine understood. But even through her understanding, she pushed that I understood the policy of missing a class or two. I returned the next week to my online course, and I showed up with my baby right by my side. Camera up for some privacy, boob out, feeding my child.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I have had some professors get offended that I turn my video off so I can tend to my children. It is hard to balance school, home, and work life.

As for myself, trying to get ahead while being a mom is a challenge. Some days that vision seems so far out, but it can be done. Caring for my children does not make me less motivated.

No matter what side of the spectrum you stand on, I hope that we can all agree that moms need more encouragement, support, and understanding.

Caring for my children doesn't make me less motivated

Halloween Themed Bento Lunch Box Ideas


Bento lunches are commonplace among Asian households. These adorable boxed lunches can be seen as an extension of love in the form of edible art. It has been said that a mother’s love can be measured by how elaborate she makes her child’s bento box.

I’ve prepared numerous bentos for my three children over the years. For the most part, my bento skills are pretty basic. However, every once in awhile I get inspired to do something extraordinary. If I am really in the zone, I may even make my husband a “man-bento.” My kids and my husband aren’t the only ones who benefit from these homemade bento boxes of love…I benefit too! Making bentos allows for a creative outlet where I can make healthy lunches for my family.

I find that making bento lunches for my family gives me a sense of joy that is therapeutic to my soul.

Preparation is Key

The secret to making a great bento is preparation. When properly planned, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to put together a well-executed bento lunchbox. For specifically themed bento lunches, I like to map out a quick diagram ahead of time. Once I sketch out my vision, I take a quick gander into my pantry and into my fridge to see what I have in stock. Since I detest going to the grocery store, I limit my bento ingredients to what I already have on hand. With these ingredients in mind, I label my diagram with the food items that I intend to use. I refer to my diagram when I am constructing the bento. This helps to keep me on track with completing the bento in a timely manner.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Bento

Halloween is a fun time to put a unique twist on an ordinary bento lunchbox creation. You get to step out of the box and get really creative. The possibilities are endless!  Some lunches embrace all of the glorious gore of Halloween while others keep it traditional. I tend to lean towards all things kawaii.  This includes making lunches that feature my family’s favorite cartoon personalities such as Jack, Sally, and Zero from one of our favorite Halloween flicks, The Nightmare Before Christmas. My kids really got a kick out of these lunches! Plus, they were fun to make!

Halloween Themed Bento Lunch Box Ideas


Jack Skellington

  • Rice
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Nori (dried seaweed)


  • Rice
  • Eggwhite
  • Cheese
  • Tomato Seeds
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Bologna
  • Nori
  • Beni Shoga (red pickeled ginger)


  • Rice tinted with matcha
  • Carrot
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Okinawan Purple Yams
  • Little Smokies Sausauge
  • Broccoli
  • Bacon & Cheese Tamagoyaki



  • Cheese
  • Nori
  • Pomegranate Seed


  • Rice
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Nori

Hello Kitty


  • Rice tinted with matcha
  • Tomatoes
  • Okinawan Purple Yams
  • Little Smokies Sausauge
  • Broccoli
  • Bacon & Cheese Tamagoyaki

Halloween 2020

Halloween may look a little bit different this year. The usual door-to-door candy collecting tradition may not happen for many children. Costume parties may be limited to 5 people or less. Haunted houses might be replaced with haunted drive-thrus.

Despite all this, there is one consistent aspect of Halloween that we as mothers can control: whether it’s delectable candy or lovingly made bento lunches, Halloween will always be full of TREATS!

halloween themed bento box, nightmare before christmas

Five Reasons Why Every Mom Should Vote {Plus Voter Information}

2020 has been a year for the history books. As much as we would like to put this year in the past, there is still a major, historical milestone upon us–Election Day. Every four years, we are given the opportunity to cast our vote for the highest office in the country and 2020 is one of those years. During this election cycle, moms have the potential to be a major voting bloc. Here are five reasons why every mom should vote.

5 reasons mom should vote

Reason #1: To Be A Voice For Your Kids

As a parent, one of my goals is to protect my son. Voting gives me the opportunity to ensure a safe and equitable future for him. The laws and regulations put in place by our government can have a longer-lasting effect on our children’s lives than our own. It’s important to consider their future when placing our own votes. They depend on us.

If you have older children, especially teenagers, talk to them about the issues that concern them. They may not be able to vote but that doesn’t mean they are not concerned about the results of the election.

Reason #2: To Make Change In Your Community

Although the topic of conversation currently centers around the presidential election, it’s important to remember that you are also voting for local officials this year. Local elections are equally important! You’re voting for someone who will advocate for your community and the issues that are most pressing. Are you worried about employment, crime, funding for your child’s school, or access to resources? These topics are issues our local government officials will have a say in, and you want to ensure you are voting for someone who will pursue the change your community needs.

Reason #3: To Speak Up For Other Mothers

When I became a mother, I was blown away by the outreach I received from other mothers. I barely knew some of these women or didn’t even consider myself to be friends with her. What bridged that divide was the fact that we were both mothers. Mothers support mothers. Whether we are stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms, stepmoms, LGBTQ moms, BIPOC moms, we are all bonded in motherhood and want what is best for our children.

We need to consider the reforms that need to be made to help our fellow mothers to succeed. When I had my son in 2018, my employer did not offer any sort of formal paid maternity leave. There wasn’t even a company policy around the issue. I had to negotiate four weeks of paid time off, which I was able to supplement with an additional week of PTO for a total of five weeks paid. But the harsh reality is that some moms get even less or none at all. Some women can’t afford to take the 12 weeks of unpaid paternity leave offered through FMLA. Even if paid leave or affordable childcare or access to government assistance are not issues that directly influence you, they do influence your fellow moms.

Reason #4: Because It’s Your Civic Duty

Civic duties refer to responsibilities expected from all members of society. Other examples of civic duties include serving on a jury, paying taxes, and obeying the law. Voting is technically voluntary, but it provides us with the opportunity to participate in our democracy.

It’s important to remember that being civically engaged goes beyond election cycles. Your voice can be heard in between elections by being an advocate for issues important to you and your family. Stay in touch with local officials in between election cycles, request meetings with them while they are in office, and demand they are doing their jobs in ways that truly benefit your family and community. They work for you! Advocacy is important for your family because it helps bring voice to issues that may go unseen. Additionally, advocacy can be a family affair and a great way to engage your children who are not old enough to vote.

Reason #5: Because Not Voting Is A Privilege

It is hard to recognize our own privilege, but it’s important to understand how you compare to others. The truth is, if you do not feel compelled to vote because the issues at stake do not impact you or your family, then you are privileged. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot of privilege, and by default, my son will experience more privilege than I did growing up. This isn’t to call you out and being privileged does not make you a bad person. How you decide to use your privilege is what makes the difference. If you find yourself in a place of privilege, then vote for those who are not as fortunate as yourself. Vote and advocate for those families who will be impacted by the issues at hand. That is how you use your privilege to make a difference.

Important Dates

  • 10/17: Early voting begins
  • 10/20: Last day to request absentee ballot
  • 10/17: Recommended last day to return absentee ballot by mail
  • 10/31: Early voting ends
  • 10/31: Last day to register to vote at County Clerk’s Office
  • 11/3: Election Day

Election Tips and Resources

2020 has been a contentious year. Moms are working from home, schooling our children at home, and simply trying to survive. We are all exhausted, but let’s muster up our fading energy to get out and vote!

ABQ Mom :: Halloween Costume Contest


There’s no doubt that dressing up our babes in costumes has got to be one the highlights of parenting. They’re just so darn cute! So get ready to share the photos of your little pumpkins by entering Albuquerque Moms Blog’s fourth annual Halloween Costume Contest for a chance to win the grand prize!

ABQ Mom :: Halloween Costume Contest

What is this grand prize, you ask? The winner of ABQ Mom’s Halloween Costume Contest will win a $50 gift card to the local business or restaurant of their choice!

We at ABQ Mom understand that 2020 is particularly difficult for locally-owned businesses. So maybe you use this gift card to start your holiday shopping, pick up take-out for the fam, or heck, just treat yourself.

How to Enter

  • Email your photo of your child in costume to [email protected] by midnight on Monday, November 2, 2020.
  • We strongly encourage everyone to also post their photos on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter using the following tag: #ABQMomHalloweenContest. Don’t forget to tag @abqmom_.
  • We will compile all the photos into one Facebook album. All of the pictures received will be posted in the album by midnight on Nov. 2nd.
  • Once the contest photo album is posted on November 2nd, share it on your FB page, email it to your friends and family. Do whatever you can to get those votes in.
  • We will re-share the album each day until Nov. 4th.
  • The picture that receives the most “likes” (in our official entry album–not your personal social media page) by Monday, Nov. 4th at midnight will win the grand prize.
  • The winner will be announced on Nov. 5th!

Official Rules

  • Pictures should be family-friendly. ABQ Mom reserves the right to use discretion in which pictures are posted.
  • Only submit pictures to which you have the legal rights (i.e. they are your children and it’s your photograph). By sending the picture to ABQ Mom, you are agreeing to have the image posted on our social media channels.
  • Each reader may submit only 1 entry per child.
  • Pictures must be emailed to [email protected], not posted to our Facebook page.
  • Please include your name, your child’s first name, and the costume title in the email.
  • Pictures must be liked in the album on ABQ Mom’s Facebook page. The photo with the most “likes” wins!

Good luck! We can’t wait to see your photos of your kiddos on ABQ Mom’s Halloween Costume Contest!

Holly Jolly Holiday at Home :: Personalized Virtual Visit & Story Time with Santa


ABQ Mom in partnership with Lovelace Health System & Westway Homes is excited to announce our upcoming event to celebrate the holidays, “Holly Jolly Holiday at Home.”

virtual visit with Santa, Holly Jolly Holiday at Home

Let’s all do our part in keeping Santa healthy this year.  

Santa will be making personalized virtual calls from his home in the North Pole. 

He and his elves have prepared a special gift for each child who participates in a personalized virtual visit. A grownup will need to pick up the bag full of goodies prior to the event so the child(ren) will have them ready for Santa’s virtual visit.

WHO: Families in the Albuquerque area

WHERE: From the comfort of your home

WHEN: Saturday, December 5th from 4:00-8:30 pm & Storytime at 7:00 pm (Please note: times are very limited, each call will be 5-10 minutes depending on the number of children in your family. A separate Christmas Storytime will be available at 7:00 pm for all families who register for a virtual zoom meeting, and can also be purchased without a virtual Santa meeting)

Goodie bag Pickup Time: TBD


  • A 5-minute virtual meeting with Santa Claus
  • Each adult who registers their child(ren) will be asked to answer a few questions during an optional survey. Santa can use these answers to make each meeting personalized to your family.
  • A goodie bag filled with gifts, crafts, & hot cocoa from Santa & his elves. Goodie bags include:
    • Book
    • Mug with hot cocoa
    • Decorate your own ornament
    • Decorate your own cookie kit
    • … and more!
  • A Goodnight storytime with Santa included with the purchase of a virtual visit or can be purchased on its own.
  • Donate to Toys for Tots here.

COST: $20 for a personalized virtual visit ($15 per additional sibling) & goodie bag
or $5 for Goodnight storytime with Santa (included for free with a virtual visit)

Santa wishes he could meet in person, but it’s so important to keep everyone safe. He is so happy we now have the technology to make these special meetings possible. 

Reserve your time to meet Santa below. Information on goodie bag pickup will be available soon. A very limited number of time slots are available, register your family as soon as possible to avoid missing out on this fun event.

This event will happen rain or shine. No refunds available. Please let us know if your plans change, and we may be able to set you up with another family looking for your spot. 

Includes Goodnight Story Time at 7:00 pm & Goodie Bag (Add-ons are available for multiple children)

Does not include a goodie bag.

Hold Harmless. By reserving a spot, you agree to assume all of the risks associated with your participation. You further agree that Albuquerque Mom shall not be liable and shall be held harmless in any manner for injuries suffered by you and your invitees, guests, or agents.

By reserving a spot, you understand that your photo may be taken and give permission for Albuquerque Moms Blog to use it on their site, in promotional materials, and/or social media platforms as well as sponsors of ABQMB.

Disclaimers: In the event of an act of God we may not be able to reschedule due to the complex nature of the event. Additionally, everyone that makes a reservation will be subscribed to our email list (if they have not been already) in order to provide the most timely and up-to-date event info.

Thanks to all our partners for this event!

We hope to see you and your littles in their holiday outfits on December 5th. It’s gonna be a fun evening!

What My Miscarriage Taught Me


*Trigger warning* pregnancy loss, infant Loss

pregnancy and infant loss, miscarriageHaving a miscarriage sent me reeling into a dark world of all of the things I never wanted to feel. I’m a perfectionist and I’m highly competitive, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t have control over what was happening to me.

I started bleeding on my birthday, which was also Mother’s Day. I’m painfully aware of the irony. I had a “missed miscarriage,” which can best be described as the body not realizing that the pregnancy is non-viable. It’s very common, but not talked about nearly enough.

The weeks surrounding the miscarriage diagnosis were cloudy and sad. I still felt pregnant, and every wave of nausea was a cruel reminder that I wouldn’t get to be a mom after all. Seeing little kids in the grocery carts at Target hurt my heart so much. I neglected my pregnant friends because I was jealous of them and angry at myself.

Those weeks (that turned into months) were immeasurably hard. I didn’t fully comprehend what I went through until I was on the other side of the pain and looking backward.

Pregnancy loss taught me a few valuable lessons.

  1. This wasn’t my fault.

2. I don’t have control over everything that happens to me.

3. Not everything will happen when you want it to, and that’s ok.

I wish it hadn’t taken this really horrible thing to make me realize those truths, but I’m not sure I would’ve ever learned them without it.

To anyone struggling with miscarriage or infertility, you aren’t alone. The lessons that I learned probably won’t help you feel any better. You might feel bitterness and anger, and that’s valid and real.

Eventually, you will be on the other side of the pain, looking back at what made you as strong as you are.

what I learned from my miscarriage

Mason Jar Soup in 5 Minutes


As the days get cooler, my motivation to meal prep starts to drop with the temperature. I prefer quicker meal ideas and almost anything I can make prep a mason jar. Moms frequently ask me for quick meal prep ideas on the go, especially during the cooler months.

My go-to meals for cooler months are freezer meals, instant pot meals, and mason jar meals.

Mason jars can be used to prep soup and salads. You may want to stock up on your favorite mason jars this season and check out your favorite Pinterest boards for mason jar soup ideas.

Today I wanted to share my fave black bean and roasted veggie mason jar soup. It can be made in only 5 minutes! Prep this recipe ahead of time on a weekend and enjoy later in the week.

Mason Jar Soup Ingrediants


  • 1/3 cup Black Beans
  • 1/3 cup of Fresh Salsa
  • 1/4 cup of Carrots
  • 1/4 cup of Onion
  • 1/4 cup of Red Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of Roasted Corn
  • 1/3 tsp of Ground Cumin
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Mason Jar Soup


Add all ingredients to a glass mason jar and store in the refrigerator up to five days until you are ready to cook. When ready to cook, add 3/4 cup of boiling water to mason jar. Next tighten the lid and shake.  Let the ingredients sit in boiling water for five minutes. Finally, power your mason jar soup into a bowl.  You can add toppings or spices. Avocado or guacamole is a great option for incorporating a healthy fat into your soup. Enjoy!


mason jar soup in 5 minutes

It Takes a Village: Love For My Single Moms


I often struggle with finding the “right things” and the “right ways” to teach my child about life and living well. There are times that I am just too worn out from the week. Or we have a million things to do because she’s eleven and everything is “essential.” Especially during this crazy pandemic when I do not have the support of her fabulous teachers and coaches, I worry that she’s not getting what she needs, and sometimes, I know I fall short.

I am a single mom. But I’m far from alone in raising my child.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” I’ve read that many times and in many places. I guess I wasn’t always sure what it meant or how to choose my village. I mean, do you need an application? Are the applications restricted to family only? Is there a subscription fee for this service? Thankfully, my daughter and I have been really fortunate in that our village has come to us. Now, they have not arrived on any sort of schedule, and sometimes they have become a part of our family in unconventional ways, but they are what makes up for my humanity on the days I fall short.

it takes a village, love for single momsGrandparents

Elizah, my daughter has two wonderful grandparents. They live in a tiny town north of Albuquerque and are an essential part of her support system. My mom makes sure that Elizah has her daily dose of homemade goodies. (Sometimes she saves some for me too). Elizah gets to have breakfast in bed and work in grandma’s garden. She can run around and get muddy, and her grandma lets her explore outside all day.

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My dad teaches her practical things like how to use tools and create masterpieces. I think he and Elizah could spend all day in his workshop cutting wood and building little things for her to paint. Elizah gets to experience the magic of being a child at their home. She has grown up with safe spaces to run and play. When I pick her up from a long weekend, or she gets to hang out at their house while I pick up an extra shift, I know she’s well-loved and getting what she needs and more.


When the drive to her grandparents’ house is a bit out of the way or we need a quick fix, I am blessed that my friend Shelley is a part of my daughter’s village. Shelley is this beautiful woman that teaches my daughter about compassion and kindness. She runs a program called The New Mexico Dream Center. She has welcomed Elizah as a volunteer and as part of the team.

When I am there working on fundraising or helping one of the youth the program serves, Shelley is giving Elizah a meaningful project. It is an absolute blessing to be able to take my daughter to The New Mexico Dream Center. Working with homeless and at-risk youth sets my soul on fire. Shelley gives me the opportunity to let Elizah see me at my best. My daughter has learned so much about life and gratitude. Her beautiful heart is amazing to me. I am so grateful for people like Shelley who nurture Elizah by sharing their love and talents.

Miss Jackie

Elizah loves to have friends, but I think her favorite friend is a young woman who babysat for us. Her name is Jackie and she is also part of Elizah’s village. Jackie has plenty to worry about, like graduating high school and working on her dual credit classes. Her plate is full, but she always makes room for Elizah. Jackie is a special young woman. Jackie comes with our family on outings and she calls Elizah to discuss the latest girl drama.

She always has something positive to say and gives wonderful advice to my daughter. She says things like, “Listen to your mom she loves you.” Sometimes she says, “Don’t get too mad because if you’re angry you won’t be able to do the things you want to do.” I love their relationship. It gives Elizah the big sister she never had. I think it’s an opportunity for her to have a unique perspective on life. I am grateful for Jackie and her willingness to treat my daughter with such love and kindness. Elizah is getting what she needs when she asks to call Jackie or invite her over for baking and a movie.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Village as a Single Mom

While I don’t know the rules for creating a village that supports single moms, I hope that ours keeps growing. I know that there are many more days ahead of being too tired, having to work late, and not having the right words when the dreaded girl drama arises. I need the men and women in my life to help give my daughter what she needs. No mom can do it all. It helps me give myself permission to rest, take a quick break, or just step back and watch beautiful relationships feed Elizah’s soul.

If you do have a single mom in your life and you’re fortunate enough to have a partner, how can you give her some extra support?

Look around you, mama. Your village is waiting to love and support you through all the uncertainty. Remember, your village wouldn’t be possible without your wisdom and ability to allow good people to help you love your kids. Good job mama, well done!

It Takes a Village: Love For My Single Moms

The Key to Family Fun: Embrace Imperfection

“This hike would have been so fun if only Corbin hadn’t been so grumpy!”

“Tonight would have been so perfect if only Isen didn’t get so upset about the fireworks!”

“Today would have been such a nice day if only the kids hadn’t made such a mess and refused to pick it up!”

I frequently make these kinds of comments. We try to do something fun as a family, and something goes a bit wrong, or someone gets upset, and we have to struggle through some difficult moments. Later, I’ll often comment that the day would have been “so great” or “so perfect” or “so fun” . . . if only something hadn’t ruined it.

Family Hikes Aren’t Easy or Perfect

Family hikes are always imperfect. Our family has been doing a lot of hikes during this strange summer and fall when most activities have been canceled. But they involve a lot of work and a lot of challenges with our young kids (including one kiddo with a motor disability that makes hiking especially hard for him). At the end of the day, there is always an “if only.”

The Key to Family Outings: Let them Be Imperfect

On one recent hike near Santa Fe, we encountered a tent caterpillar infestation so extreme that caterpillars were falling out of trees and landing on us. The caterpillars had consumed all the foliage, leaving the trees bare. If only there weren’t so many caterpillars, this hike would have been much prettier!

On another recent hike, my husband arrived at his destination in the Jemez mountains after driving for two hours and packing a car full of snacks, lunch, and water, only for a giant storm to completely derail his plans. If only it hadn’t rained!

On our most recent hike, our two-year-old started begging me to hold him when we had been hiking for about three minutes. He was whining and crying and we could still see the parking lot. If only he hadn’t ruined the hike with his terrible attitude!

Beautiful Moments

Although our family hikes are imperfect, they have many beautiful moments. On the “caterpillar” hike, the boys jumped across a creek and threw rocks from a shady bridge. They were happy and dirty and entertained for hours.

After his 30 minute meltdown, our toddler recovered and had a fantastic time. We made it to the end of the hike (something we almost never accomplish!). We took in the beautiful views from atop a mountain.

The Key to Family Outings: Let Them Be Imperfect

Our 8-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, repeatedly exclaimed “I’m crushing this hike!” while navigating difficult rocky terrain. I realized with pride that while I once thought hiking would be impossible for him, his grit and determination have proved me wrong.

Imperfect is Still Worth It

I’m starting to think that these wonderful moments just can’t be achieved without enduring some frustrating moments as well.

When I say, “This day would have been so fun, if only . . .” I’m erasing all the beautiful, fun moments in one sweeping statement. I’m believing that a few difficult moments cancel out all the wonderful ones. But they don’t. We often have to push through the frustrating and the challenging moments in order to get to the beautiful ones.

Family outings shouldn’t be judged on how perfectly or smoothly they went. They are a success because you did it. You packed the stuff, you loaded the kids, you handled the various moods and needs of many people. I call that a success!

The Key to Family Outings: Let Them Be Imperfect

At the End of the Day

So after a family outing, or a family vacation, or even just a day at home, I’d like to stop saying “If only!” I won’t declare the day “ruined” because we encountered some challenges. I won’t erase all our hard work and laughter and happy memories just because the whole thing wasn’t perfect.

I like things to be perfect. Neat and tidy and perfect. But the world rarely works that way. Family time almost NEVER works that way. We have to let go of “perfect” in order to appreciate the good.

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The Key to Family Fun: Embrace Imperfection

International Day of the Girl :: Let’s Destroy Gender Bias in the Workforce

My son wants to be an astronaut. When we ask my daughter the same question, she sometimes answers, “A princess”. I want her to know she is destined to be anything she desires.

Close your eyes, when you hear the word “pilot” or “aviation worker,” who do you picture? Is it a male, a female? We need to do a better job of terminating the gender biases of one gender dominated careers.

For many young girls, female gender stereotypes and clothing choices may not reflect their personality or interests. My personal favorite color is pink, and now I see my daughter gravitate to that color as well. I’m okay with that. She loves to play with dolls and dress up with her princess dresses. I’m okay with that.

What I am not okay with is if she believes she can’t, or will not, be allowed to pursue a male-dominated career. It got me thinking about how we went to the park as a family and flew styrofoam airplanes. My daughter loved it!

We recently learned that Lieutenant j.g. Madeline Swegle is Navy’s First African American female tactical fighter pilot. How fantastic to see more women being celebrated for aviation career achievement!

Below is a brief list of female firsts in aviation.

Bessie Coleman was the first woman pilot of African American and Native American descent.

bessie colemanAmelia Earhart was the first American pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records and wrote books about her flying experiences.

amelia earhartSally Ride became the first American woman in space in 1983.

space shuttle, abq momMary VanScyoc is considered to be the first civilian woman to work as an air traffic controller in the US.

gender bias, ABQ MomGender biases and gender domination in the workforce are real. These women have paved a way for other women to excel in their careers.

I’ve seen gender biases in many of my previous places of work. As a woman with sons and a daughter, I know it is up to me to expose them to experiences and encourage their interests. Since my children are interested in aviation, it is a blessing that their Aunt, Alicia Whitman, happens to work as an air traffic controller. Air Traffic Control is an advancing career in aviation.

Alicia Whitman is currently working as an air traffic controller in North Carolina at an Air Traffic Control Tower/ TRACON. She is a certified professional controller.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mrs. Whitman to provide insight into a career in aviation in the hopes of inspiring women and girls of all ages that they too can achieve success in a male-dominated career. Our interview is as follows.

What is air traffic control?

“I am an air traffic controller and it is my job to ensure the safety of your flights. My peers and I guide your plane safely from gate to gate by remaining in constant contact with your pilots.”

What does this look like?

“There are three types of facilities: Tower, TRACON, and EnRoute.

When you begin your taxi and are cleared for takeoff, your pilot is speaking to Tower controllers. Soon after departure, your pilot is switched to the approach controllers in a TRACON. At cruising altitudes, your plane is being guided by EnRoute controllers. As you begin your descent you are again in the hands of an approach controller. Finally, a Tower controller clears your plane to land and taxi it to the gate.

The point is to create order so multiple aircraft aren’t at the same place at the same time. Air traffic control is a complex job that requires split-second decision making and critical thinking skills.”

What type of schooling do you need for air traffic control?

“When I went to school, I received degrees in Management and Communications, but that is not the only way to qualify for the job. You can go to school specifically for air traffic, though not a requirement, you can benefit from doing so. You can also qualify by having work experience or having served in the military.

Before you go to your facility, you participate in rigorous training to ensure you have the basic skills to be successful. When you get to your facility you complete a few months of bookwork and a few years of on-the-job training before you can control on your own.”

What should women and young girls know about this career when it comes to gender biases?

”I wish I could say that this job is rainbows and sunshine, but progress can be slower than molasses on a cold day.

It is so important for young women to know that careers in STEM are for them; this is where they belong.

As of 2018 only 16.3% of air traffic controllers in the US are women, and it shows. Imagine being responsible for thousands of lives traveling in steel vessels in the air, traveling well over 300 knots, at various altitudes, every day.

You are working a busy session separating aircraft and getting people to their destinations safely. You get off position and your male counterpart tells you that ‘your voice on frequency sounds how you look, small and petite.’ This came a few weeks after another male counterpart told you that you don’t ‘have a deep, commanding voice’ like his. That’s why pilots don’t listen to you.

In those moments, I am reminded that I am different, that I am a woman.

Though situations like this happen, there is a strong bond between the women in the agency. I have had the honor of having women in high positions mentor me to help me advance.

I credit the women who came before me and honor them by being a role model for younger generations. I strive for a more diverse workforce and want to see more women in the agency before I retire.” – Alicia Whitman

*Interview between Roxanne Barry and Alicia Whitman on July 17, 2020.

We have come a long way in job equality and terminating gender biases, but we have much more work to do. 

If my daughter wants to fly planes, direct planes, build planes or ride them to space, I want her to feel like she can do just that and more!

Girls in Aviation Goes Virtual

If you or someone you know is interested in aviation check out Women in Aviation International. There is also a local New Mexico chapter you can find on Facebook, called WAI (Women in Aviation International). It is a non-profit organization supporting the goals of women in all aviation careers.

Let's Destroy Gender Bias in the Workforce

Fall Recipe: Chile Rellenos


Fall in New Mexico is my favorite time of year. The heat finally begins to give way to cooler temperatures and the smell of roasting green chiles fills the air. I don’t think there’s a smell more intoxicating than roasting green chiles. It is a sure sign that fall is upon us.

Green chiles are truly a versatile ingredient. It goes well with everything–pizzas, burgers, burritos, stews–it adds the perfect heat to any dish. While I enjoy green chile on just about anything, my favorite thing to do with them is make chile rellenos. Today I’m going to share with you my favorite fall recipe – chile rellenos.

What Are Chile Rellenos?

Chile Relleno

Chile rellenos are a traditional Mexican dish made with roasted green chiles (or poblanos) that are stuffed with cheese, dipped in an egg batter, and fried until golden brown. This all comes together to create a spicy, cheesy, and comforting dish.

Tips to Get Started:

Use fresh green chiles! Do not use your previously frozen ones as they can fall apart and leave you with a cheesy mess.

Select large green chiles for your chile rellenos.

Make sure there are no holes or tears in the chiles you select! Otherwise, you’ll end up with cheese all over your pan and not in your chile relleno.

As with peeling green chiles, making chile rellenos is a labor of love, so I recommend recruiting a friend or family member to join in on the fun. My mom and I make these together every year.


  • 24 large, roasted and peeled green chiles (do not remove the stem)
  • 16 oz. block of cheese, cut into 3/4-inch strips
  • A dozen eggs
  • 2-3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Red salsa for topping, any brand or homemade (optional)


1. Stuff your green chiles. Create a small hole near the stem of each chile and stuff strips of cheese in each one.

Fall recipe - chile rellenos

2. Working in batches, separate four eggs. Mix the yolks in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Mix the yolks into the whites.

Fall recipe - chile rellenos

3. Place flour in a shallow bowl. I like to use a rectangular Tupperware container so I can dredge multiple chiles at a time.

4. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Dredge each stuffed chile in the flour. Tap off excess flour. Then dip into the egg mixture to fully coat each chile. Gently lay the chiles into the oil being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown and cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes per side.

Fall recipe - chile rellenos

5. Repeat steps 2 – 4. Each batch makes about 8 chile rellenos.

6. Serve with rice and beans

When you bring home your bag of roasted green chiles this fall, I hope you’ll give these chile rellenos a try. It’s sure to become a family favorite and will make you even more excited for fall in New Mexico.

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chile rellenos recipe

An Open Thank You Letter To Teachers in 2020


Teachers, you are my heroes.

Without warning, your lives were turned upside down. Students were never to return for the remainder of the school year, and everything you knew about teaching shifted in the blink of an eye. From warm hugs and silly conversations to children who had trouble locating the mute button. Kids sticking their tongues out at each other on the video chat, laying in their chairs, and crying out of frustration. You may have also had similar grievances.

Virtual Learning

Many people may not know this, but on average, teachers across the nation received 3 days of online teaching training. They were expected to turn their physical classrooms into virtual classrooms in less than a week. Guess what? It was achieved. Quite possibly with hiccups, but what new system is flawless?

Our beautiful (sarcastically said) internet has shown so much hate, lately. I’ve read comments on social media like, “These teachers should get a pay cut.” “I shouldn’t have to pay school taxes since the kids aren’t in school.” “People go to work everyday; why are teachers so special?” “They need to suck it up, or quit.”

Thank You Heroes

I don’t know what teachers these people are referring to, but the only teachers I’ve run into are complete rockstars.

If anything, they should receive a huge raise. And one of the reasons why people complain about schools in New Mexico is because our taxes are low, so we don’t have a ton of money pouring into schools, regardless of what some may think. Several of our schools don’t even have working air conditioners. Teachers will pass out ice packs to create a more tolerable environment for kiddos in the hot months. I lived in another state where the taxes were astronomical, but the schools looked like they came out of a scene in a movie.

Day after day, I peer into class meets with my son who is in kindergarten.

These sweet kids can navigate a live meet better than most adults. They engage, and then they get bored. The teachers are sure to try to validate their feelings. Our school identifies feelings by using color zones. They are sure to ask what zone each kid is in, every morning. When the kids are in a zone where they are sad, angry, or tired, the teachers make sure to tell ask the kid why, and let them know that it is okay to feel that way.

Make People Feel Loved

I’ve only dealt with virtual teachers thus far, but let’s also thank all of the staff who put their lives on the line every single day. Some schools in New Mexico (and the rest of the country) are back in the classroom. But teachers did not sign up to teach during a global pandemic with a shortage of PPE. We should have never made it to this level of infection. But here we are.

If they are meeting in-person, day after day, teachers show up with smiles behind their masks.

They invent cool games to help kids wash their hands and physically distance. They constantly come up with ideas for how to make things into fun, instead of berating kids for touching items and then touching their faces. Anything to make this not normal period turn into a new normal that is less scary for the kiddos.

The last time that I checked, this school year alone Covid-19 has killed teachers in at least 5 states. The school year hasn’t even been in session for more than 2 months. I know there were several other educators who were lost over the course of the pandemic. This article is reflective of the 2020-2021 school year. These teachers pour their hearts and souls into our future generation. They are underpaid people, with a passion for instructing our most prized possessions, paid the ultimate price.


 Thank you for risking your lives.

We appreciate you. We adore you. There is no way we could ever repay you. Here is to hoping that the safety plans in place keep our teachers/staff and students safe. We need you; you are important and amazing. You are true super heroes. And this goes out to all staff at school. I know teachers are not the only people on campus. It takes a village. You didn’t ask for this, but you came up with a plan and executed it. And that, my dears, is the ultimate sacrifice.

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an open thank you letter to teachers, ABQ Mom

ABQ Area Spooktacular Neighborhood Halloween Hunt


We have one more idea for a socially-distanced, Covid-safe Halloween. It’s a Neighborhood Halloween Hunt that can take place the whole month of October!

Who remembers the Neighborhood Egg Hunt back in April? (I know, I know, that feels like six years ago as opposed to six months.) Similar to the egg hunt, “bear hunts,” and “chalk walks” we saw pop up in neighborhoods all over America, our Halloween Hunt will work best if lots of neighbors (young and old) participate. So spread the word in your local neighborhood!

How It Works

Download and print the Halloween Hunt printables.

Decorate your favorite pictures any way that you want!

Cut them out and display your creations in your windows during October of 2020.

Go on a Halloween hunt with your family to see how many decorations you can find!

*Don’t forget* to take a picture of the spooky windows you find. Let’s see how many neighborhoods get represented! (You may want to post on your own NextDoor app that you want your neighborhood to participate!) Or maybe you can print some out for your neighbors!

Share on Social Media to Encourage Others to Participate in the Halloween Hunt.

Facebook: Add your fun photos to the ABQ Mom thread and tag when sharing them!

Instagram: Share them to your image feed or add them to your stories! Tag us @abqmom_ and use the hashtag #abqhalloweenhunt to be featured!

Download the printables here.


We think you and ABQ are FABOOLOUS! We love to see our city come together to celebrate and create fun for our kiddos. Let’s see how many ABQ area neighborhoods are represented in the Halloween Hunt!

If you “boo” your neighbors and friends, consider including these printables and encouraging them to participate.

Stay Connected


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