Autumn Cartagena

Does it involve good conversation? Will it leave people thinking and feeling connected? Is there a chance of diet Coke? Then count me in! I’m a relationship-building, student-advising, psychology-teaching, craft-making, food-experimenting wife to Jensen (July 2007) and mama to Leo and Louie, the two most handsome, dark haired, long-lashed little men I’ve ever met. My current hobbies include finding awesome take-out restaurants, convincing everyone I know that the best party is a THEME party, and adding books to my “to read” shelf on Goodreads.
death and kids

Death and Kids: Navigating Funerals with Kids

In some ways, I hope this is a post you never need to read. I wish this wasn't a part of the deal in helping our kids navigate the world. I know death isn't an...
20 Date ideas adult bucket list

20 Dates under $20: A Summer (Grown-Up) Bucket List

As the end of school drew near and my working mama guilt started to increase, I found myself working on our family’s kiddo-focused bucket list. (If you’re interested in creating your own, our monthly...
C Minus at Life | Des Moines Moms Blog

I’m Getting a C- in Life

Where my girls at? You know, the ones who pulled straight A’s while being involved in a million things. ‘Cause you will know what I’m talking about. 19 years of formalized schooling has trained me...
returning to work from maternity leave

Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Some women love it. Some women dread it. Some women feel empowered by it. Some women feel conflicted by it. But the reality is, more than half the workforce in the U.S. is women, so...

You Might Be Pregnant During the Holidays If…

Santa ain't the only one who could fill out the red suit this holiday season. This is my first winter/holiday baby, and I've noticed a few things that are different than my nice-weather pregnancies....
holiday crafts des moines moms blog

Holiday Crafts: Working Mom Edition

I love all the cutesy, thematic activities, crafts, and plans that an afternoon Pinterest session can afford. But how can a working mama really make it happen without ending up with a closet full...
The Good, the New, and the Otherwise in My Third Pregnancy | Des Moines Moms Blog

The Good, the New, and the Otherwise in My Third Pregnancy

Although I don't advocate for this as a way to approach life in general, my husband and I were on the we'll-see-what-happens-by-35 family plan. And it turns out that what happened for us is...
Giving Back for Back-to-School | Des Moines Moms Blog

Giving Back for Back-to-School

This is a safe space. Let's be honest. Some love it. Some dread it. As a self-proclaimed nerd and lover of all things school, I'm here to say: I ADORE back-to-school shopping! When I was a kid... I remember--very distinctly--being worried...
Rising Strong: Ask the Hard Questions | Des Moines Moms Blog

Ask the Hard Questions

Any Brené Brown fans out there? From the beginning of Rising Strong, I was hooked and have found her words resonating with me ever since. Right now, as I write this, our lives are off kilter, our schedules...
Rocking a Solo-cation (with Kids) without Losing Your Sanity | Des Moines Moms Blog

Rocking a Solo-cation (with Kids) without Losing Your Sanity

Let me first say, I give MAD PROPS to mamas and dads who are rocking it solo, day in, day out, 24/7, 365. You all are my heroes. And I'd totally get if you stopped reading what...