Meet Our Contributors: Elizabeth, Amy, Kailee, and Mina

Meet Elizabeth Kreher

Hello! I’ve been writing for the Iowa City Moms Blog for almost a year and am so excited that the City Moms Blog Network has expanded to Cedar Rapids. I was born and raised in the Cedar Rapids area and never thought when I was growing up that I would eventually raise my own family here. Back then I thought Cedar Rapids was boring and nothing to offer, but I’ve learned how wrong I was. I met my husband, Ryan, while were in high school, but we weren’t high school sweethearts. We went to prom together, but just as friends. He became one of my best friends and romance eventually blossomed the summer before our senior year at the University of Iowa. We were married in July 2009 and moved back to our hometown of Cedar Rapids where he had a teaching job. I worked for several years in non-profit fundraising and event planning before I decided to go back to school full-time at UNI and earn my Masters in Education—School Counseling in 2012.

After enjoying married life for five and half years, we added to our family in November 2014 when our daughter Elin was born. We have loved seeing her learn and grow over the last year and a half. Right now she’s obsessed with our dog, Duncan, and seeks him out each morning when she gets up. We’re not quite sure how much he enjoys getting his fur pulled, but he tolerates it well and enjoys the food she drops on the floor for him. I never knew how much my world would change for the better until she was born. In fact, I think I said to Ryan on the way home from the hospital when my hormones were raging, that my life didn’t feel like it had as much purpose or meaning until she came into our world. While being a parent has its ups and downs, good days and bad days and moments that test my very short patience level, I wouldn’t change it for a moment.

While I love being a mom, I also have a life outside of the title of “mom”. I work as a high school counselor in the Cedar Rapids/Marion area and love working with all of my students on academic, social emotional and college/career help. Reality TV, coffee, and any kind of candy are all guilty pleasures of mine. I also enjoy going for walks or runs outside, hiking at local parks, reading, staying up to date with celebrity gossip, and traveling. I’m excited to get even more connected with local Cedar Rapids moms.

Meet CRMB Contributor Elizabeth Kreher


Meet Amy Lovseth

While I’ve been an Iowan for 10 years, I’ll always be a North Dakota girl at heart. My husband and I were high school sweethearts from the same small town where our parents still live.  After college graduation, we moved to Cedar Rapids for his job, just a week after our wedding.  I spent a year substitute teaching a little bit of everything, which is for the brave, desperate, or just plain crazy.  I had a lot of the last two going for me by the end of that year! I was thrilled to finally get a job teaching elementary school in the Linn-Mar district. Four years later, I had a very hard time waddling away from my 3rd grade classroom, pregnant with twins.

Now, as a stay-at-home mom with four-year-old twin girls, Julia and Emily, and two-year-old Madelyn, I continue to be passionate about education. I still get to be in a classroom once a week to teach Sunday School, which I love.  Since becoming a mom, I’ve found that I value play as learning so much more than ever before.  I’ve been amazed at how much learning is going on while children are playing.  I’ve become a strong believer in protecting childhood from the race of life and letting children develop at their own pace.

Eating healthy is important to me, but it never seems to matter when there are cupcakes or ice cream.  Not only do I have no self-control around sweets, I have absolutely no musical ability.  My littlest one still likes my singing and I’ll enjoy that while it lasts.  I really dislike cooking, dirty dishes, and cleaning.  Oddly enough, I love baking and organizing.  I’ve always loved reading so there is a giant stack of books by my bed that I am usually too tired to read at night.

I have learned so much being a contributing writer for icanteachmychild.com over the past year.  That experience makes me so excited to contribute to a local blog where I have the opportunity to meet and work with the amazing moms of Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas!

Meet CRMB Contributor Amy Lovseth


Meet Kailee Meskimen

Hello! I am Kailee and I am a devoted wife, friend and confidant to my husband, Cole. I recently became a mother to our sweet little girl, Stella Claire. Cole and I met during our college years in 2010 and hit it off from the get go. I attended Wartburg College with a major in Public Relations and Spanish and Cole graduated from Hawkeye. Although we didn’t have much when we walked off that stage, we had big dreams for our future. We knew we wanted to start a life together and always knew kids were in our future.

First, we wanted to travel the world. Our tight budgets didn’t allow for extravagant getaways, but we buckled down, saved up and decided to venture on some childless get togethers before we settled down. We traveled domestically to TN, MN, CO and all through IA and then treated ourselves to a tropical oasis in Mexico and Dominican Republic. I’ve always had a passion for travel ever since I was little. I love learning new languages, about new cultures and immersing myself in my new surroundings, and I was glad I met someone who appreciated that as well. We also discovered our mutual interest in being active and spending time outdoors. We’d spend summers camping, grilling out, having bonfires, fishing, running 5Ks and going for walks.

Cole and I married on September 1, 2012, surrounded by our loving family and friends in an outdoor wedding. We honeymooned in Mexico and spent the first year adopting and training a puppy, decorating our new house and establishing ourselves in our new careers. A few odd jobs later, we finally found jobs we’re passionate about. I work for Frontier Co-op in Norway, IA. It’s a local co-op with deep roots in organic and natural living. We partner with growers from around the world to source our high-quality and sustainably sourced spices, herbs and teas. I get to realize my passion every day, and for that I’m so blessed. Cole works for a Northeastern-based construction company that is currently constructing the new Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. He gets involved with planning projects for the kids, organizing blue prints and plans for the building and is learning a lot about the construction business. We both couldn’t be happier.

In early 2014, we decided it was time to throw away the birth control and start trying for a family. Little did we know, this would be a long, trying and painful process. Our plan to have a child by the end of 2014 didn’t happen, making us extremely heartbroken and confused. After a few more months of charting, consulting with doctors and trying, we finally saw those two pink lines in February 2015. We were completely elated. Our miracle baby would be joining our family in mid-November — and that’s just what she did. Stella Claire was born November 15, 2015. She was and still is a peanut (her nickname), but has the biggest personality. Our lives are so entirely full with her and I can’t wait to get to spend the next few years as a happy family of three…until we try for number 2!

I am excited to be part of the Cedar Rapids Mom’s Blog community, and hope my stories, experiences and learnings inform yet entertain you. Parenting isn’t always easy, but it’s so entirely rewarding.

Meet CRMB Contributor Kailee Meskimen


Meet Mina Tannehill

Hello there! I am Mina. I was born and raised in Illinois alongside my three wonderful siblings, by my mother. I graduated high school in 2007 as a Cornjerker. After years spent longing to be an Iowa girl, I finally picked up and moved to Des Moines. It is there I met the love of my life, Dale, through mutual friends. We quickly added our sweet and sassy daughter into the mix in August 2013 and became a little family of three. After moving around in Iowa a bit, we moved to Cedar Rapids last summer (and plan to stay!).

    I recently rejoined the workforce after being a stay-at-home-mom for almost two years and now work as a cake decorator for Hy-Vee part-time. Dale and I split care for our daughter down the middle, which leaves us very busy. When we can squeeze in some family time, we try to make the most of it! We love relaxing by a bonfire in our backyard, visiting the horses and dogs around our neighborhood and throwing super goofy dance parties in our living room. It usually comes as no surprise to our extended family when they catch us all acting out scenes from our favorite Disney movies or making up songs. We live an everyday improv show!

I have a knack for finding a great bargain and love collecting beautiful vintage treasures! After my kiddo is asleep, you can catch me sipping cheap wine while binge-watching TV dramas. I read a lot of home decor magazines because they keep magically showing up in our house. Tiny gnomes, I assume. I am a self-proclaimed funny girl who tries to laugh my way through life’s stresses. I listen to all the Katy Perry songs on repeat. I delight in all things food.

In my eyes, all the tiny everyday things are the most wonderful. I truly believe that they get swallowed up sometimes in the rush of daily life. Writing is an outlet for me to maintain my appreciation for them. I am so excited to be sharing my life with the Cedar Rapids Mom Blog and getting more involved in this great community!

Meet CRMB Contributor Mina Tannehill


   

Meet Our Contributors: Katie, Brittney, Taylor, and Sarah

Meet Katie Ripke

My name is Katie and I have spent most of my life in the Mount Vernon/Lisbon area. I attended college at the University of Northern Iowa where I majored in Public Relations. Following college, I thought I was a big-city girl and moved to the Chicago area where I figured out I was in fact NOT a big city girl. I moved back to the area in December 2006 and met my husband Bryan in 2008. Bryan is also from Mount Vernon, but our paths did not cross until we both ended up working for the same company in Cedar Rapids. We got married in 2011 and then almost exactly two years later in the summer of 2013, we welcomed our first son. 27 months after that in the fall of 2015, we welcomed our second son.

I am a full-time working mama work in the marketing field and have found a passion for health care marketing. Although I fear working in the health care field has turned me into a hypochondriac, I love that I get to help people learn about their health care options in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. I learn something new every day through my work and no two days are alike.

When I am not at work, I am most likely spending time with my boys – more and more of that time is spent outside as my two year old has inherited his father’s love of the outdoors. My husband and I love the Cedar Rapids area and are excited to take advantage of all the wonderful things available for young families. With two boys, I am quickly learning all things boy including the difference between a Jedi and a Sith, the names of all the Marvel Avengers characters and exactly how far a tiny male human can pee.

If I do get some time to myself, I enjoy Netflix, LaCroix sparkling water and catching up on my social media feeds (most of the time, all three of those things at once). However, my current favorite luxury is sleeping for more than a four hour stretch of time. I am excited to be a part of this community and can’t wait to meet and learn from moms in the area.

Meet CRMB Contributor Katie Ripke

Afton Marie Photography


Meet Brittney McNutt

Hey mamas! I’m Brittney and I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA. A little over 4 years ago, my sister was adamant about introducing me to a man who was younger than me and played football at the University of Iowa. First thought, no thank you.  Then, he hit me with his charm and genuine heart. Cue the sappy music. Really though, after we met it was pretty much love at first sight.  We were engaged in less than a year and shortly after our engagement, we moved to the Philadelphia area with our two daughters: Paris and Sophia. We spent a year in Philly, then came back to Iowa to get married, moved to North Carolina, and then welcomed our third child, a baby boy named Marz. A few months after Marz was born, we decided it was time to move back to Iowa to be closer to family.  We drove 17 hours from Charlotte, NC to Cedar Rapids, IA, a drive I vow never to do again as I can still hear the kids bickering, a screaming baby, and the constant pulling over to nurse. I’m happy to be back in Iowa (and out of the car). I’ve been so impressed with the growth and development in Cedar Rapids in the short time that we were out of state.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with our kids. Paris is 13, Sophia is 11, and Marz is 11 months old. There is a 17 year age difference between me and my youngest sister, and I swore I would never have big age gaps with my children. Ha! I wouldn’t change it for the world though. It’s amazing to watch the girls love on their little brother and Marz is so in love with his sisters.

I love to create magical experiences, memories, and traditions with our family. I love to cook and experiment with new recipes. I dream of having a huge Oprah Winfrey garden someday. Party planning, brunching, entertaining, date nights and holidays are my absolute jam. I’m also obsessed with the NewBo District. Recently, I’ve been interested in learning more about photography and have been getting lots of practice in by photographing my children. I am passionate about my faith, being a wife and mom, and striving to be my best self.

I’m excited to write for CRMB and make connections with other moms throughout the Cedar Rapids area!

Brittney family


Meet Taylor

Hello! I’m Taylor. I’m a first-time mom wondering at what point things return to normal—and slowly realizing they never do! I am wife to an amazing husband, Cody, and mama to sweet little Everly, born February 2016. I grew up in Story County and attended Iowa State University. I graduated with a degree in Animal Science and now work full-time as a key account manager in the livestock nutrition industry. My husband and I started dating in college while he was studying Ag Systems Technology, and we married after graduation. He now works as a field marketer.

We currently reside in rural Benton County. Cody grew up in the area and we are involved in the family operation. Our farmstead keeps us busy—we have sheep, pigs, corn, soybeans, and hay ground, as well as a seed dealership, a dog named Ace, and a cat named Aspen. We both grew up showing livestock and that has remained a big part of our lives. In our free time, we enjoy working with kids through livestock shows and youth programs. We keep involved in the Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement, 4H, FFA, and various other show circuits. We’re excited to share that passion with Everly as she grows up, and hope she shares the same love for the industry that we have!

Aside from the livestock shows, sheep, hogs, and fields, I have a few other activities to fill what little free time I have left to help keep my sanity. My faith, family, and friends are very important to me. I love renovating our farmstead, DIY projects (Cody’s favorite—ha!), traveling, gardening, cooking (although my chef brother probably has me beat), the mama staples of coffee and wine, and anything dark chocolate or salted caramel.

I have also always loved writing, never mind my use of run-on sentences and too many parentheses. This passion became clearer after I became a first time mom. While up all night, I found myself writing in a notebook. It helped me to not only record the memories, but step back and take everything in, to really look at the little moments as they happened. In writing these stories, and reading others (hello, mommy bloggers… thank you for helping me through planning, pregnancy, and even now!) I found that I am not alone. Becoming a mom is unlike anything I have ever done before, and nothing like I expected. It’s one of the hardest jobs I have ever had, yet my favorite.  I’m excited to join you as we navigate through mommyhood together. I hope to bring you a helpful checklist, a new viewpoint, a mindset of grace, and perhaps some light and laughter along the way—whether from when I was a mama-to-be or now as a new mom!

Meet CRMB Contributor Taylor Schminke

Afton Marie Photography


Meet Sarah Mollman

Hi! I am Sarah, mother of two and teacher to many. I grew up in Marion where I met my husband in 5thgrade. We didn’t start dating until he called me (on something called a land-line) out of the blue our Senior year of high school. Our first date consisted of conversation between sips of hot chocolate at a local coffee shop. The conversation never ended, only the content. We now find ourselves talking more about how to child proof the cabinets and the silly, new catch phrase spewing from the mouth of one of our babes.

I graduated from The University of Northern Iowa in 2008. While there I was a writer for The Northern Iowan newspaper and a member of Best Buddies. Some of my fondest memories there were running a half-marathon, receiving writing awards from the English Department, and kissing my now-husband under the Campanile at midnight.

After graduation I spent some time substitute teaching and tutoring in the area. I had my son, Jameson, in 2010. I then became a freelance writer, so I could spend time at home, navigating the new waters of parenting. During this stage of my life, I spent most nights rocking my non-sleeper back to bed and writing how-to articles on any topic under the moon.

I began my teaching career at Excelsior Middle School in the Linn-Mar District and have spent the last four years teaching English at Linn-Mar High School, where I once attended. My current classroom even houses a ceiling tile that my classmates and I signed on the last day of our Senior year. I absolutely love my job and aim to teach each day with the passion as it is were my first, or even my last.

I had my daughter, Samantha Jo, in 2014 after spending a month-and-a half on modified bed rest. I feel so lucky to have these two sweet ones. At the end of each day, my energy is drained, but my soul rejoices with the love my family has given me. The perfect ending to my day is simply hanging out with my husband and children on the living room floor. Watching them all giggle and play is all I need. When the kids are tucked in and I am left with that rare “me time”, I pick up a book that requires no annotations, or settle into some relaxing yoga poses.

Meet CRMB Contributor Sarah Mollman


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