Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

Meet Our Team

Des Moines Moms Blog is made up of a group of amazing women who share their stories, wisdom, and ideas. You can learn more about Andrea and Kara, the co-owners of DMMB, here.

Des Moines Moms Blog Contributors

Meet the Des Moines Moms Blog Team

Kayla

Kayla Craig DMMB

Project Coordinator

Kayla is a full-time journalist turned work-at-home mom to four young kids. She wrote for print and digital publications at Meredith Corporation and the Des Moines Register before transitioning to work-at-home mom mode. Her oldest son joined her family via international adoption, two more sons joined the old-fashioned way, and her sweet daughter completed their family via a domestic special needs adoption.

Kayla has been hitched for nine years to her husband Jonny, who pastors The Bridge church in Johnston. She cares deeply about living an authentic life of faith and her heart beats for amplifying voices of those who are often unheard. Kayla attended Drake University, where she majored in magazine journalism and minored in English and sociology.

When she’s not changing dirty diapers and refereeing lightsaber duels, she enjoys hammering out stories and recording episodes of Upside Down Podcast, where she co-hosts conversations on life and faith. She shares glimpses into her chaos on her micro-blogging drug of choice, Instagram.

Rachel

Rachel

Social Media Coordinator

Rachel 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.

Stacie

Stacie Leinen

Events Coordinator

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-recipe chef, Instant-Pot creator, thrift-shop find make-over artist, DIY project amateur 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.

Anissa

Anissa headshot square

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!

Ashley

Ashley

College 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 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.

Becky

Becky

Becky grew up in Iowa and moved to Waukee in 2009 after she and her husband, Russ, settled into teaching jobs in the Metro. She and Russ have been married since June 2006 and have three boys, Henry (2010), Wesley (2013), and Calvin (2015). She teaches in Waukee and loves the small town feel that one of the fastest growing zip codes in the U.S. has to offer. Becky enjoys spending time with her boys, blogging at ByBMG, keeping up with fashion and make-up, making crafts that can be accomplished in a nap time, and “vacations” to Target.

Brianne

Brianne

Brianne Sanchez is a writer and community engagement professional who calls herself an “Iowan by Choice.” A transplant from Chicagoland, she moved to Des Moines in 2007 and acquired a house, husband, dog, son Emmett (June 2013) and Eileen (October 2015), which means she now has deep roots in this place.

Brianne blogs at bsinthemidwest.com and is a frequent contributor at DSM Magazine. When she finds free time, she spends it crafting, reading, hiking, biking and volunteering, but never cleaning.

Chelsea

Chelsea

Chelsea 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 love exploring local shops, restaurants and events. Chelsea enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, fly-fishing, cooking, and giving back to the Des Moines community.

Christine

Christine

Christine 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. Connect with Christine at christinemeggison.com.

Jackie

Jackie

Jackie is a St. Louis, 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.

Jackie married her caring and handsome husband, Andy in July 2007) and is a stay-at-home mom to her son, Easton (August 2010), who has autism. 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 testing new recipes for Easton’s special dietary needs. 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 others.

Jennifer

Jennifer George

Jennifer 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. A separation and divorce 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.”

Jenni

Jenni Ward

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.

Jenny

Jenny

Jenny 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.

Jessie

Jessie

Jessie is a talkative storyteller who makes friends everywhere she goes. She is married to a Colorado native and together they have four beautiful children: Leela, Cora, Lincoln, and Theodore. Her son Lincoln 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.

Shay

Shay

Shay 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!

Shelly

Shelly B

Shelly is a Dubuque, Iowa, native who is currently living in West Des Moines with her husband Todd (August 2014), their daughter Sofia (July 2017), and their pup named Mister.

Shelly has a BFA in Graphic Design from Iowa State and currently works as an Art Director at Meyocks. Her nights are spent navigating life as a new mom, while also running a small online apparel company called Shell Yeah! Design. Aside from that, Shelly enjoys strong coffee, being creative, random girls’ nights, DIY projects, Crossfit, red wine, healthy baking, and ice cream. 

event committeeEvent Committee

The Des Moines Moms Blog Event Committee includes Ashley Dillinger (not pictured), Erin Peterson (not pictured), Jill Neas, and Tiv Vallejo. Together with Stacie Leinen, the Event Coordinator, they brainstorm, plan, and execute quarterly events for the Des Moines community.

A special thanks to Ana Woods for taking our team photos. Kayla’s head shot was taken by Samantha Owenson Photography, LLC