Liz Johnson

Liz is mom to second grader Jonah, preschooler Gwendolyn, and toddler Theo. She and Troy married and bought a Beaverdale home in 2010. A teacher on maternal hiatus, Liz prefers reading to housekeeping and uses West Wing reruns to settle her mind. She believes any problem can be solved with fiction but loves to explore her reality in Des Moines.

Celebrating 10 Years

We were going to take a trip for our anniversary.  Ten years of marriage justified the expense. It was going to be the second time in seven years of parenthood that we were kid-free. We...

Being Grateful in Hard Times

I knew I was in trouble when a Coronavirus update from my cell service provider made me burst into tears.  Their message said, “We’re here and we’re ready,” and I was overwhelmed. What confidence! What...
Quiet Spaces

5 Outdoor Spaces in Des Moines to Find Peace and Quiet

I crave quiet. Lack of noise. Sound’s absence. Eradication of the endless voices screaming off the news page and inside our house.   It’s a nice idea. But the reality is children come with noise and if...
mental health professional

Why I See a Mental Health Professional

I regularly see a mental health professional.  And I love it. I started about three weeks after our daughter was born. She was our second so I was confident we had all the parenting bases covered. Then...
love story

Our Love Story: Before We Were Parents

I love relationship origin stories, but ours tops them all. Because it’s ours. Because it reminds me of how we got to where we are. Of who we were before the 10 years of...
holiday conversation

Holiday Conversation Topics to Avoid

Does anyone else struggle to find appropriate holiday conversation topics? The table is set and all of your loved ones gather round. You haven’t seen many of these friends and family members since this...
Hostess anxiety

Birthday Parties Stress Me Out

We just hosted our third baby’s first birthday party. It was everything a birthday party should be, with doting grandparents, enthusiastic cousins, and plenty of sugar.  There was a theme, corresponding decor, food, and...

Do You Take Your Kids to Church?

“I’m ready!”  The 6-year-old triumphantly displays his stained athletic shorts, a left and right shoe from different pairs, laughable bedhead, and a syrup-streaked face.   The 3-year-old stands next to him in an outgrown dress that barely...
summer mom

Summer Mom Cycle: How June Mom fades into August Mom

Summer is a wonderful season. As a summer mom, it’s a chance to forget routines, slow down schedules, and embrace the possibilities. Until it’s not. As the golden hue of June shimmers into July’s humid haze...
passenger on road trip

The Family Road Trip’s Toughest Job: The Passenger Seat

There is a place, found on interstates everywhere in the summer months, sure to test the patience of saints and the grace of angels. It’s the front passenger seat of the vacationing family’s car....