Our Team

Meet the amazing women who share their stories, wisdom, and ideas on the blog. You can learn more about Andrea & Kara, the co-owners of DMMB, here.


 Meet Rachel

Rachel HeahshotRachel Verzani is a small town girl trying to figure out how she fits in a big city.

She spends her time baking, cooking, making memories with her sweet husband since August of 2006 and loving on her beautiful babies; Cadence (December 2004), Liliana (April 2007), Drake (May 2012) and Sophia (2015) . Rachel grew up in the country in NW Iowa where she and her husband went to high school together. She and her family call Johnston home.

Rachel would have never guessed that she would be living in a big city with a big family at such a young age. But she welcomes each day with the mantra of “Let’s make a memory” and works hard at raising respectful, cheerful children while keeping up with her duties as a stay at home mom.

Feel free to catch up with her family life at “My Spoonful of Sugar” where she writes about the sweetness of her life.

Rachel serves as Social Media Coordinator for Des Moines Moms Blog.

Meet Stacie

Stacie is an Iowa native, living in Urbandale with her tall, dark, and handsome husband, Kyle (May 2014). They share their home with the light of their life, their son, Calvin (August 2015) and his two doggie brothers.

By day, Stacie is the Director of Development for Animal Lifeline of Iowa. By night, she’s a toddler chaser, Pinterest-ecipe chef, Instant-Pot creator, thrift-shop find make-over artist, DIY project amatuer who enjoys reading, hanging out with her guys and an occasional girls’ night out. Stacie has been planning events, large and small, professionally for nearly twelve years. She loves a great party and thinks the details matter!

Stacie received an undergraduate degree from William Penn University and Master’s degree from Drake University.

Stacie serves as Events Coordinator for Des Moines Moms Blog.


Meet Angela

Angela HeahshotAngela Squires has been labeled “Super Mom” by many who know her, but she still hasn’t figured out why.

She is the blessed mom of four beautiful children—Abel (March 2006), Amariah (July 2007), and fraternal twins Isabel and Elliana (May 2009). Angela grew up in small town Nebraska, attended college in Orange City, Iowa, where she met her Iowa-native husband Travis, and has lived in Iowa ever since. In February 2007, the couple made their home in Ankeny, where they are active members of First Family Church.

Angela embraces her full-time job as Mom and is now in her sixth year of homeschooling her children. She has a passion for good books, sunny days, and meaningful moments. In her free time she enjoys blogging at Eternal Outlook [with Angela], where she chronicles the events and teachings of her life as she strives to live it well.



Meet Autumn

Autumn HeadshotAlthough the line “Change is the only constant” is credited to an ancient philosopher, Autumn Cartagena is pretty sure that man’s mama thought it first!

Military trainings, jobs, and life have had Autumn and her family bouncing around the state and country for the past few years. At first, she and husband, Jensen (July 2007), started adding feline fur-babies (Baxter, Zoey, and Squeaks) to their roadshow but have since been blessed by two beautiful dark haired, long-lashed baby boys. Leo, (August 2012), is mama’s helper through and through and introduced Autumn to the joy of being a “boymom.” Louie (May 2014) is a smiley, ball of go-go-go who has shown Autumn just how many places she can be in at one time.

By profession, Autumn is an academic adviser and psychology instructor. No matter what her title is, Autumn feels she’s doing her best work when helping others (students, mama friends, co-workers) to understand themselves and encouraging them to use this knowledge to take their next steps in their own life’s journey. She knows how blessed she is to get to do this work both in and out of her home!


Meet Ashley

Ashley HeadshotCollege brought Ashley to central Iowa, and she never looked back. A native to northwest Iowa, Ashley graduated from Central College in Pella. Shortly after she married her best friend, Travis, and became a permanent resident in Ankeny. Now eight years later, they are a family of four, Tessa (2008) and Amelia (2012) living in Polk City. Ashley enjoys reading (books, blogs, and magazines), running, taking “artsy” photos, singing, and spending time with her family.

With most of her husband’s family living in the immediate area, family gatherings can be pretty entertaining. Ashley and Travis also enjoy traveling up to Northwest Iowa to spend time with her family either in Royal, or on Lost Island Lake in Ruthven. Life for the Dillinger’s is pretty chaotic with multiple extra-curricular activities, school, homework, and life in general. Ashley is learning how to have a healthy balance between working fulltime and being a mom.


 Meet Jennifer

Jennifer HeahshotJennifer is a single mom to two active boys, Spencer (April 2005) and Elliott (May 2009). She grew up in the Des Moines area, received her degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University, and married right after college. Throughout her 12-year marriage, she lived and worked as a teacher in Norwalk, Iowa; Dubuque, Iowa; and Houston, Texas. A recent separation and divorce (December 2012 and July 2013, respectively) brought her and her two boys back to West Des Moines to be close to family. Divorce is the last thing she wanted for herself or her boys.

It has been a very painful and hard season of life, but with a little help and a LOT of faith, she feels that it has made her a stronger, healthier person. She hopes now that she is no longer a victim of domestic abuse, but a survivor, she can take this experience and use it to help others who find themselves in her situation. When she is not substitute teaching, she loves spending time with her boys, running, cooking, being involved in her church, and figuring out her “new normal.”


 Meet Kristin

Kristin HeadshotAs a momma to her sweet and spunky little girl Hannah (November 2013), Kristin finds herself enjoying and learning from the rewards and challenges of motherhood each day. Armed with the strength and grace of God, she strives to be a mom who embraces each moment and puts her family first. She married her college sweetheart David in August 2007 and lives in Des Moines where she attends the Vineyard Church.

Kristin works as a freelance editor and is a wannabe freelance writer who enjoys baking, reading, writing, running, and spending time with family and friends. When she writes her own blog, Kristin loves sharing her heart, learning experiences, and adventures as a momma in letters to her daughter at Dear Baby with Love.




 Meet Summer

Summer Headshot

Summer Evans and her college-sweetheart husband, Luke, have one sweet, funny, and energetic ginger-baby, Charlotte (June 2013). Summer is in awe daily about how amazing and rewarding it is to be a mom, but she wishes there were more hours in the day for snuggling!

Summer and her family enjoy cheering on the Cyclones, playing music and singing, reading, cooking, photography, and home improvement projects. She enjoys blogging about the joys of motherhood, DIY projects, and other randomness at Random Acts of Summer. She also has two bratty cats, Nitro and Pickles, who get more than their preferred share of toddler hugs these days.

Summer is a graduate of Iowa State University, and she works full-time as the Marketing & Communications Director for the City of Waukee.



Meet Christine

Christine head shotChristine claims to be the “World’s Okay-est Mom” and discovered the key to finding joy in motherhood: grocery delivery. Well, grocery delivery and knowing “B is a good grade”!

She and husband, Michael, have three funny kids – York (2004), Tess (2006) and Jack (2008) – and Team Meggison loves reading books aloud together when they aren’t at ball games, play rehearsals, and dance recitals. Christine is a Central College graduate and work-from-home mom, living in Grimes and worshiping at Lutheran Church of Hope where she is a regular speaker for Hope’s monthly worship service for moms – MOMentum. Christine is a speaker, author, blogger, and podcaster and hopes to encourage other women to live authentic, imperfect lives in community together.

You can connect with Christine at christinemeggison.com.


Meet Jackie

jacki head shotJackie is a St. Louis, Missouri, native (GO STL CARDINALS!) and relocated to Ankeny, Iowa, in October 2012. Prior to moving to Ankeny, Jackie worked several years in the world of retail managing a major retail chain store in St. Louis on all facets of human resources and operations.

Since the move Jackie has been so blessed to become a stay-at-home mom to her Autistic son, Easton (August 2010), and to focus on her caring and handsome husband, Andy (married in July 2007). Easton was born prematurely at 30 weeks weighing 2 lbs., and by the grace of God, has progressed amazingly, beating out many of the odds that were thrown at him.

Jackie loves all things food, especially spending time in the kitchen cooking Italian and testing new recipes for Easton’s special diet needs that include foods that are free of gluten, milk, and soy. The Strawn family attends First Family Church in Ankeny where Jackie helps serve in the children’s ministry.

She has a true passion for connecting with people and advocating for her son to ensure he gets the resources and education needed to provide him as many successes in life as possible and hopes to share her journey to encourage and help others along the way.

Meet Jenny

jenny headshotJenny is married to her cookie-selling husband, Dereck, and has two daughters, Marlo (August 2012) and Gwen (May 2015). Jenny and her family live in Polk City. Jenny enjoys dates with Dereck, baking (but mostly eating dough), long weekends at home, reading, writing, running (but mostly the part where she just finished running), and watching her girls grow and learn.

Jenny graduated from Iowa State and Drake University Law School and works full time as an attorney at a local insurance company.





Meet Shay

shay headshotShay is wife to a self-proclaimed IT nerd and mama to two daughters, Sophia (5) and Saidey (2). She is a licensed mental health therapist providing addiction and mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. She finds herself continually searching for the balance between work and home, and although life can get a little hectic, she wouldn’t have it any other way!

You can find Shay blogging over at Three Gals and a Guy, writing, reading, binge-watching Netflix and reality TV, and spending time with family and friends. Shay and her family have set their roots in West Des Moines and enjoy lots of trips to Target, cooking, reading, and enjoying all the fun activities that the community offers! They also have a healthy banter between which team is better — the Cyclones or Hawkeyes — and of course, the Cyclone side always wins out!



Meet Katie N.

katie headshotsKatie and her husband, Wes, are Urbandale/Johnston high school sweethearts and have two boys in elementary school. Katie can be found at any sports event on the weekends cheering on her kids or local pro sports teams, too. At home, her family loves playing outside, trying new board games, and building Lego creations together. Katie’s favorite place on earth is Estes Park, Colorado, and she vacations there as often as possible.

Katie loves being creative. She has broken a finger while sewing and received six stitches from a failed Pinterest project, but she’s still dedicated to trying new projects! She’s an active member of Lutheran Church of Hope Johnston-Grimes and loves the Bible study group and couples group she’s in. Katie also owns her own birth and postpartum doula business, The Iowa Baby Lady, LLC where she serves women in our community as they grow, birth, and mother their babies!



Meet Katie C.

Katie grew up in small town Iowa. After graduating college, she married her college sweetheart, Ben, who happens to be the funniest, sweetest and most handsome guy she knows. Katie became a momma for the first time in August 2009 to her adorable son Drake and again in March of 2012 to her sweet little boy Charlie. Katie blogs at Happy Where I Stand where she shares both heartfelt and hilarious stories from the front line of motherhood.






Meet Mel

I’m the mama of one lovely lady age 13, one fierce, soccer-loving girl age 11, and one studly little boy age 5.5 years awesome. I’m a mom by day, NICU nurse by night, runner in warm weather, and wannabe farmer year-round. I love God, a man named Steve, family, and lots of coffee. You can read more at Clark Girls + Boy.







Meet Jessie

Jessie is a talkative storyteller who makes friends everywhere she goes. She is married to a Colorado native and together they have three beautiful children: Leela, Cora, and Lincoln. Her son is a pediatric-cancer survivor and caring for him has earned her the title of momcologist. A teacher by trade, Jessie loves to collaborate with others. In her free time Jessie enjoys movies and popcorn with her family, browsing the aisles at Target, and trying to find an excuse to eat out.






Meet Chelsea

Chelsea Smith headshotChelsea is a northwest native, originally from Idaho, who now is proud to call the Midwest her home. She and her college-sweetheart husband first moved to Des Moines in 2009 so he could attend medical school. They took a three-year sabbatical to Milwaukee for residency, where they welcomed their son Henry (January 2015) and Chelsea was a contributor to sister-site, MKE Mom’s Blog. They finally returned to their beloved Des Moines in mid-2016. Chelsea and her family currently reside just outside of the Beaverdale neighborhood. Chelsea splits her time between working in menswear fashion and staying home with her son. She and her family adore everything Des Moines and the surrounding area has and love exploring local shops, restaurants and events. When they aren’t out and about they love entertaining friends and family. Chelsea enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, fly-fishing, cooking and giving back to the Des Moines community.


Meet Jenni

Jenni lives in Urbandale with her amazing husband, two girls, two dogs who think they are children, and a feisty cat. She is the creator of The Gingered Whisk, a recipe blog dedicated to finding easy, healthy-ish, and tasty weeknight meals that kids and adults alike will love. She is super passionate about helping every member of a family learn to love great food. When not cooking, eating, or thinking about food, she is often hiking around area parks, creating intricate legos castles with her girls, watching nerdy tv with her husband, or curled up in a corner somewhere reading a good book.





Meet Anissa

Anissa moved to Johnston in 2016 after living in Iowa City for more than 20 years. She has two girls, Faith (15) and Fiona (9). She and her husband, Patrick, have been married for 21 years. Anissa is a registered dietitian and currently works part-time as a wellness coach for the YMCA. For fun she loves to clean, organize, read, and binge watch Netflix. Her vices include watching the “Real Housewives” franchises and doughnuts!







++A huge thanks to Lon Monahan for taking our team headshots.