Meet The Duluth Moms Blog Writing Team
Agate collector, self-proclaimed “world’s okay-est mom”, and emotional guru, Angie’s friend’s often joke that she’s a duck in the water; calm and collected on the surface but furiously busy underwater and behind the scenes. Angie lives on the north shore of Duluth with her husband, two young children, and her two trouble-making dogs. Transplanted from Minneapolis in 2014, her family does their best to squeeze every bit of adventure out of the Minnesota Northland and are thrilled with their decision to head north where hiking boots are considered acceptable office attire.
Angie graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth and after spending some time in South America and then working odd jobs in the Twin Cities she found herself being pulled towards the mental health community and now works as a psychotherapist and owner of North Shore Mental Health Services. She’s also a registered yoga instructor and is passionate about empowering others to make conscious decisions when it comes to both their emotional and physical health. This passion has lead her to her newest endeavor as a consultant with Beauty Counter where she advocates for safer beauty products and promotes self-care.
When she’s not working with her clients to discover their best selves or trying to change the beauty industry you can probably find her at home muttering profanities at her breast pump or scheming new ways to trick her toddler into potty training. She challenges herself and others to look for the humor in stressful situations and to live and love whole-heartedly. She’s here to embrace the mess of parenthood and wants to make it okay for you to embrace your mess, too. You can follow her adventures over on her Instagram account.
Anna sheepishly admits she may be the messiest member of her busy family of six. Her patient husband Nathanael, of sixteen years, has learned to live with her messy downfalls. After meeting at UMD, the two were quickly engaged, and married a year later. Young and in love, they began growing their family. Before the age of 30, Nathanael and Anna had 3 biological boys and an adopted daughter; Isaac, Lincoln, Samuel, and Amilia Bailey. Take a step back into the 1950’s, and that’s what you’ll see in their Lakeside neighborhood. Families share meals and kids play pickup games of ball. Anna is passionate about building community like this, and investing in her amazing city!
Now, back to the mess. Anna, is a creative to the core, and organization falls short on her list. Her teenage boys seem to keep things in order more than she does. Somehow in the midst of her creative chaos, Anna runs her own business making and selling re-claimed art and furniture. Sawdust is her girl glitter, and power tools her best friends. She is also is a singer-songwriter, and you may just catch her singing at the local pub or pizza place. You can follow all her woodworking adventures over on Instagram.
Anna was born + raised along the shores of Lake Superior. The water and the dear family and friends that call Duluth home are the magnet that keep her and her growing family adoring this place. Anna married her high school crush and together they are raising two darling compassionate adventurers with a love of fresh air and grace. Anna loves all things that shout of beauty, hope, truth, and pointing people towards joy. Her love for writing started in kindergarten where she would come home with long stapled together novels- recently found in her Moms chest of saved childhood projects. That passion for stringing together words would only bloom in the many years to come. When Her Dad battled brain cancer for 17 years, writing became her safe place to wrestle with both joy and pain as well as a place to search for beauty.
Today you can find Anna running wild in the things that bring her joy. Falling more in love with her tall sweetheart of a husband. Doing her best to raise kids who chase after truth, love a good hike, and give away kindness. Gathering friends old and new in their home to share good food, hearts, and life. Filling out adoption paperwork to bring home their third (and maybe 4th!) babe from Uganda home. Chasing sunsets with her minis + capturing couples promising their forevers as a wedding photographer. She shares about heaven breaking into the everyday mundane on Instagram where she likes to mini blog and post about those darling babes of hers.
Ashley and her husband Lawrence recently moved to Two Harbors where they live with their two daughters Ellie- 2 years old (soon to be 3) and baby Emma- born in June. In March 2012 Ashley and Lawrence enjoyed their honeymoon on the North Shore, but never dreamed they would one day get to live in this beautiful part of Minnesota. What brought them here was her husband’s call to be a pastor of a small church in Two Harbors. Ashley is learning what it means to fill the role of pastor’s wife as she also stays at home with her girls, which has always been her dream job. Seriously. For Kindergarten career day she wore an apron and brought her baby doll, her own mom has always been her hero and role model.
In addition to taking care of her curious, talkative (and sometimes overly friendly) 2 year old and cuddly, smiley 4 month old, Ashley enjoys baking yummy treats, crafting creative projects for the home and for her daughters, and exploring fun new places along the North Shore. Some things she can’t live with out are strong and bottomless cups of coffee, real community with moms who are navigating this crazy ride known as “Motherhood” and a whole lot of grace.
Becca is a recovering perfectionist who moved to Duluth three years ago and is often told she. speaks like a Minnesotan. Her biggest joy involves helping connect people to their passions by getting in touch with the story of where they’ve come from, and helping connect that with where they want to go. She has three goals for her life that are the filter she uses for every opportunity that’s in front of her: Live simply. Be grateful and content. Have tons of fun.
Becca has been married to her best friend for five years. He proposed on Palisade Head, how can you say no to that?! They have two amazing boys: Ian (4) and Elliot (15 months), and she is looking forward to sharing more of her story on Duluth Mom’s Blog! You can follow Becca’s adventures over on her Instagram account.
Carrie and her husband of ten years are raising their sons, ages four and 15 months, with the guiding family principles that wiffle ball games can turn into neighborhood events, packing extra snacks never hurts, and the best way to end dinner time is with a family dance party.
Her full-time work away from home is in higher education, equipping students with pathways to success during and after college. As a native Duluthian who returned to the area after completing a graduate degree in English, she’s motivated to develop this community for young professionals and families.
Beyond frequenting parks and the kid-friendly spaces of the Zenith City, Carrie puts in miles on the trails and the Lakewalk for self-care and to maintain a supportive female community. Some of her personal goals for the near future include completing a marathon (maybe), starting a book group, and planning next year’s family vacation. She is hopeful she can use some of her challenges and growth as a mom with young children as a catalyst for community support.
Cheryl has lived in Duluth for almost her whole life, except for a short time in Oregon, a couple of years in Montana, and time in Connecticut. She and her fire-fighter husband John will be experiencing an empty nest, soon, and will muddle through the beginning stages of that together.
Their children, Morgan (22) who will be getting married soon, and son Benjamin (19) who is leaving for Marine bootcamp this year, have been the center of their lives. Cheryl is looking forward to spending more time with her husband John and building her business, hoppingwren.com in the future. She enjoys holding her husbands hand, painting furniture that no one else wants, and talking to her yellow lab Vinny. A few of my favorite things include a cold glass of chardonnay and when her whole family is around the dinner table. You can follow all her chalk painting adventures over on Instagram.
Master of Pinterest fails, finder of mysteriously missing shoes, juggler of schedules, restorer of couch cushions that are on the floor for some reason that you’re not really sure of (no seriously why are they always on the floor?).
You will rarely see her flying solo partly because she is a baby-wearing mom, and partly because she has five children! Her children are ages 8, 8, (they’re twins), 6, 4, and 6 months. Her husband, Chris, works with the US Air Force. Together they are working towards their reality show Chris and Christine Plus 16 (just kidding).
If you thought she sounded busy already, you may be surprised to learn that she is also a photographer, is finishing her degree (graduating this spring), is a caretaker to her son who is going through leukemia treatments (he is in remission and doing well!), and still tries to find time to sneak in an occasional game of Guitar Hero and binge watch dramas and reality shows on Netflix. Regardless, she feels being a mom is her primary job and it is her priority.
She loves to travel – especially with her husband – and to laugh, explore, pray, connect, reflect, listen, listen more, encourage, learn, teach, give advice, grow, and take entire showers without any interruptions. You can keep up with Christine on Instagram.
Meet Emily, mama to 15-month-old twins Lucie & Charlotte and wife of almost 10 years to Bernard! Emily grew up in the suburbs of NYC where she went to school for photography & graphic design and started working in magazine art direction. Maurices’ home office initially drew Emily and her husband to Duluth. She misses some aspects of big city living (The food! The shopping!), but Duluth/Hermantown is definitely now home and she is excited to be raising her family here.
Emily recently left the corporate world to become a stay-at-home mom! She also helps out behind the scenes with the family business she started with her husband. She likes to cook, watches too much HGTV, and loves fashion — although lately she is focusing that love of fashion on matching outfits for her girls while she wears yoga pants. After 15 months with twins (and 12 months of breast feeding), Emily is finally ready to get her body back — thank you Stroller Strides! She moved from Lakeside to Hermantown this summer and is still working on unpacking those last few boxes Emily is quickly realizing that becoming a stay-at-home mom doesn’t magically make you a perfect mom with a beautifully decorated house that cooks gourmet meals each day — but she is embracing the chaos and hoping to share some of the hilarious craziness that is raising twin toddlers with you!
Gina is the mom of one sweet girl and two wild and crazy boys. She is an entrepreneur and a perpetual tinkerer; an idea junkie and once she has one she is basically incapable of letting it go until she sees it through to fruition. It doesn’t matter if it’s work-related or a birthday party for a kid or what color to paint the family room, she’s obsessive compulsive and passionate about ideas in any way, shape or form.
She grew up in Int’l Falls, Minnesota and has a double major in Computer Science and English from the University of St. Thomas. She did the IT thing in downtown Minneapolis for a while before convincing her husband to move to Duluth because she thought it was pretty. She retired from computer stuff three years ago to raise her little people and start a business and considers Lucy sweatpants and soft, tri-blend t-shirts a perfectly acceptable work uniform. She’s wife to Michael, a Pittsburgh-native, guitar playing, computer geek. She’s still working on getting him adjusted to Minnesota winters, it’s proving to be a tough sell as they’ve lived in Duluth for 13 years.
She calls herself socially awkward and is a bit of an introvert in person but extremely outspoken and vulnerable online. She considers blogging and online relationships a perfectly good substitute for ever leaving her house. She’s passionate about fonts and pretty things and Photoshop and spreadsheets and considers coffee, dry white wine and guacamole each in their own personal food group. You can follow her over on Instagram.
Gretchen is mom to two amazing teens, Luke (19), and Kirsten (17), and happily married to her high school sweetheart, Scott. They have four fur babies, Rascals, Scrappy, Oscar, and Frodo. Gretchen is obsessed with Gilmore Girls, and aspires to drink as much coffee as Lorelei. She loves to run, shop, eat, lift weights and gather with friends. Gretchen’s relationships are an investment worth the time they take and God is navigating her through loving people where they’re at. This is life…you can follow more of her adventures over on Instagram.
Mama to three small humans, queen of the kitchen, and small business entrepreneur, Heather Hefter is right at home on the North Shore. She is the proud mama of Abigail, 16, Finneaus, 6 and Eleanor, 1. Aside from chasing kids, she enjoys reading, baking and time outside along Lake Superior.
Heather was born in Fort Lauderdale FL but relocated to her father’s hometown of Duluth when she was just two years old. She met her husband of 15 years in undergrad at Winona State and has been on a whirlwind ride ever since. Before returning to Duluth 3 years ago, they lived in West Des Moines Iowa, Warren and Parma Heights Ohio, Suffolk Virginia, Pensacola Florida, Okinawa Japan, San Diego California, and Parkville Maryland (even some of her best friends can’t keep up with all the places they’ve lived). Laying down permanent roots is a new concept to her family but they’re embracing it every step of the way… except for the freezing cold and snow extending into what the rest of the nation considers spring!
Mom to Braden, an 8 year-old angel guiding her every move, and fraternal 3½ year-old twins Kyla and Kara, life is a constant blend of tears and laughter. Teaching part-time at Marshall School affords her an opportunity to “play adult” each week and get some much needed grown up conversation. Hobbies used to include things like photography, scrapbooking, reading, traveling and going out with friends however now days sculpting Play-Doh, finger painting, wagon rides and play dates are more realistic. The adventure of parenthood has thrown her more curveballs than ever imagined but she tries to stay grounded in her faith and trusts that everything does indeed happen for a reason. Plus good girlfriends and a glass of wine always help keep things in perspective!
Heather Jackson is a freelance writer who resides in Lakeside with her husband and two young daughters. You can often find her bribing her children with cookies at Amity Coffee so she can finish her latte, quoting the admirable Leslie Knope, and pretending she doesn’t live in fear of the truth that her back is hunched when she moves into downward dog during yoga class. You can follow all her adventures over on her Instagram account!
Kaila became a Duluthian four years ago after moving north from Minneapolis with her husband, Dan and son Haydn (5) to pursue adventure, a lifestyle change, and a new career for her spouse. The past few years have bought just that with the addition of two more to
the family; Ada (3) and Ella (15 mon.).
Residents of Lakeside, her family enjoys the walkable convenience of the neighborhood, hiking along Lester River, and hitting the Lakewalk for an evening jog. She has found the adventure she was seeking right out her door and loves that the only traffic report she ever monitors
is the canal ship schedule.
Working outside the home in commercial real estate, and balancing the demands of motherhood, drives Kaila to be intentional with her free time and friendships. She enjoys a good vintage furniture find, her coffee strong, and baking from scratch. She gets through her long days by carving out time to intentionally act silly with her kids and by making mundane chores into songs, and sometimes opera manifestos. In her dreams she is a midwife, supporting women through pregnancy and postpartum. However, she thinks her reality, supporting women as a Duluth Moms Blog contributor, is a pretty good substitute. You can see more from Kaila on her Instagram account.
Mover-Shaker-Happy Homemaker. Yoga- Coffee-Wine Lover, and Indoorsy Mother
I’m Kati Rae Annis and I moved to Duluth nine years ago, after graduating from the Aveda Institute of Cosmetology in Minneapolis. Originally from Bemidji, I always loved visiting Duluth and I knew I wanted to end up here.
I met my husband Brian at the first salon I worked at while I was cutting his son Caleb’s hair. Brian and I have been married for seven years, and we now have a family of five. Caleb is a junior at Hermantown High School, as well as a Varsity football and basketball player, Grace is four and attends Many Rivers Montessori as well as Madill Dance Center, and Elin is almost two and adores her siblings, reading books and trying to drink moms coffee.
I am a stay at home mom. Most of my favorite hobbies are not outdoorsy ones, but we all can’t be Annie Oakley. I’m so excited to share my mommy-wife-life perspective with this great community of women!
Katie never thought her first date would be at a gun club with a guy she met on the internet, but that’s how it all started. He was friendly, funny, and used full sentences. One their second date, he made her lasagna and she was sold. So when Jon asked her to marry him just a couple of months later, she said yes. Katie quit her job, married her best friend, and moved two hours away from her hometown.
Fast forward four years, and Katie and Jon live in Cloquet with their five month old daughter, Grace, and two German Shorthaired Pointers, Bacon and Porkchop. Having never had any younger siblings or babysitting experience, Katie jumped into being a stay at home mom with both feet. Once a pharmacy technician, she is now navigating a whole new world of being a mommy. Katie spends her spare time baking, hiking, writing, playing guitar, and taking pictures. She battles her fears of not being strong enough with the hope that comes from the Man upstairs. Every day is different in the Palmreuter house, and she takes each adventurous day one at a time.
An overachiever at overachieving, an underachiever at saying no, Kim has had her hand in everything since she stepped foot in high school in the great north. In graduate school, she met another social butterfly and it only made sense that they join forces. Two kids later, she now finds herself running nonstop to make sure that her whole family is involved in everything possible – who would want to miss out on something!?
In 2008 Kim and her husband followed the lure of Duluth and moved north from the hustle and bustle of the twin cities to be closer to her parents (read: free babysitting). Living in Duluth has brought more than she’s ever imagined, including lifelong friendships, an appreciation of the outdoors, and the gift of watching her kids, Maria (9) and Thomas (6), grow up with their grandparents and great-grandparents nearby.
Kim works from home in the ed-tech industry and has a passion for college and career readiness. Her job allows her to wear yoga pants on some days travel the country on others. However, most will point out that her proudest professional accomplishment is co-founding the Mr. Pete Foundation, a nonprofit that provides grants for teachers to do innovative activities in their classrooms. On a mission to complete her doctoral dissertation, you can find Kim writing, hanging out at the rink, and, if she’s lucky, at happy hour any day of the week (Wine Wednesday anyone?) You can follow more of her adventures on her Instagram account.
Kristina is a small town girl originally from a small northern Minnesota town near the Canadian border. Some of her favorite things include: baking, weekends at the family cabin, boating, yoga pants, donuts with sprinkles and spending time with her friends and family.
College introduced her to Duluth and she’s been hooked ever since! Kristina’s career background has been in the hospitality industry as well as retail. She and her husband Andy have two amazing tiny humans: their handsome son, Keegan (3) and our beautiful daughter, Piper (2 months). Being a mom has taught her so many things, but most importantly it’s shown her just how valuable time can be. Kristina is best described as a daughter, sister, mom, wife and entrepreneur! She is a true artist at heart whose medium is cake decorating and recently quit her 8-5 job to follow two of her life-long dreams…stay at home mom and small business owner! Follow more of her bakery goodness over on Instagram.
Hailing from the great state of North Dakota Melainy is new to the Duluth area and excited to explore all the great places and activities the Twin Ports area has to offer. Her Husband Ben, originally from Chisholm, 14 month old Jameson, and two 50lb English Setters have recently settled into small town living in Esko, MN and are eager to make their new house a home. As a first time mom moving to a new town and a new state is chaotic and Melainy and her family are embarrassing the challenge,
Follow her on Instagram and laugh at all of the hilarious 1st time mom adventures she encounters
Missy is mom to 3 amazing boys! Austin (21), Nicholas (13) & Zachary (11). She was born and raised in Duluth, and her entire family is still here as well. Her husband is also from Duluth, they have two of the three boys at home and are both small business owners. Missy’s husband is in construction and she own’s a home decor craft business. She have recently decide to take a big jump and leave her corporate job and has been running my business full time since Nov of this year, and is excited and terrified all at the same time. Life is too short for regret! She is looking forward to having my nights and weekends back and to spend more quality time with her friends and family. You can find some of Missy’s creations here on her Instagram account.
“You’re eccentric, Mom.” A short evaluation of Michele from her awesome daughter at age eleven. Hannah is twenty three now and Michele happily reports (not without a wry smile) that all three of her offspring inherited a bit of eccentricity all their own! Success! Her children grew to be fun individuals with delightful quirks that allow them to have more grace for their parents. Michele is mom to Hannah, Caleb (27) and Josh (25). They grew up in Duluth after she and hubby/best friend Jeff moved here 18 years ago. They have had many adventures over the years camping, hiking, and kayaking together. All her kids have married spouses that also love playing outdoors. What a bonus!
Michele has worked in radio for the past 20 years or so, and Jeff still can’t figure out how she hasn’t used up all her words yet. She lives on 20 acres in Normanna Township and feels slightly ashamed that she doesn’t garden or pickle anything. Her favorite sounds are wind in the pines and airplanes overhead. Since she is truly terrible at crafts, she contents herself with walks in the woods with Jeff and their British lab, Stieg. She tried knitting once. Simply put: scarf shame. Instead she reads books, writes in her journal, meets with friends, sings in church, acts sometimes in plays and plows their driveway in the winter. She volunteers at Essentia and enjoys mentoring others. Michele has a granddaughter who just turned one with another on the way!
Nena grew up in the Duluth area and although some day she’d love to live in the middle of a big city, loves all that Duluth and the surrounding community has to offer. She works as a full-time pediatric speech therapist at a local rehabilitation clinic and hospital. She has been married for 21 years to Scott and became a mom 16 years ago when her son Griffin was born. Five years later, his brother Reese joined their family.
Griffin taught her so much about parenting, she felt more than ready to tackle the tantrums and challenges when Reese came along. Then Reese started having seizures at 2.5 months of age and she had to learn a whole new way of parenting. Reese was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease at 15 months old. Mitochondria are energy producers in our cells and mitochondrial disease can affect any bodily system. Reese’s development stopped when he started having seizures. Entering the world of parenting a child with special needs changed Nena’s perspective on everything. In her spare time, she loves word games and crossword puzzles, curling up with a good book, sewing simple projects and going on coffee dates. Learn more about Nena over on Instagram.
Meet Sarah Anne; She is an endorphin chasing adventurer. Believer in the power of positivity. Original tattoo enthusiast. Raised down South, but she grew wise up North. Happily married to a beautiful soul. Currently on a mission to do adventures vs. collecting things. You will catch her and the family (yes,even the toddler!) strapped to a snowboard on Spirit Mountain. She’s convinced sunshine, a good cup of coffee and exercise can cure anything. If obtained unlimited expendable cash, she would use it for traveling and wandering through thrift stores. You will most often find her exploring places around this beautiful city with her two littles, Ara (2) and Orion (5 months) in tow. Passionate hairstylist turned stay at home mom for the present. You will mostly find her family outdoors no matter what season it is, chasing both sunrises in their backyard and sunsets throughout the city. Follow Sarah’s adventures on Instagram.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, my life-long love of woods and water drew me to move to Duluth 20 years ago this November. I enjoy the beauty of our area through outdoor activities, including hiking, running, swimming, paddle boarding, biking, camping and snowshoeing. I also enjoy singing, photography, and helping my husband start a business keeping bees.
Working in Higher Education for over 20 years, my greatest joy was to talk with students about how to navigate the challenges of college, what they wanted to do with their lives and how to make their dreams come true. After stepping out of this career to be a stay-at-home-mom, I am returning to my passion of helping people achieve their personal and professional goals as a Board Certified Coach. Coaching is an excellent resource for people who are anticipating a life transition and who want to improve their life in some way. You can follow Sarah’s adventures on her Instagram account.
Sharon is a Duluth native who returned home after living in Washington, DC for many years. A former teacher, she lives in Lakeside with four children who are eating her out of house and home, two giant horsedogs who think they’re allowed to sleep on the bed, and a husband who is always willing to buy her ice cream, any time of the day or night. She is currently obsessed with the following things, in no particular order: The Office, emerald green, newborn babies, Stitch Fix, sweater weather, Duluth Coffee Company coffee, wool socks, The Sound of Music, traveling, non-fiction books, Lake Superior, lip gloss, The Oh Hellos, beautiful light, and also, newborn babies. Sharon owns a thriving photography business, and has been published nationally. When she’s not creating family heirlooms for people, she’s probably reading the same book over and over to her four year old, watching her 9 and 12 year olds sing and dance, or discussing politics with her high schooler. Follow her photography adventures on her Instagram page!
Two years ago, Tonya would have never imagined answering to the name of Grandma, at the age of 40, but that was before she met her husband, Tom. They have a blended family with 8, yup 8 children from age 9-27, with a 3 year old granddaughter and a infant grandson.
She’s grateful that she has found her tribe in Duluth. She is an active member in the Duluth-Superior Mom’s Run This Town. These amazing women get her out of bed at ungodly hours to go for short little runs. She recently completed her third (and what she’s saying final marathon).