Past Rochester MN Moms Blog Contributors
Rochester MN Moms Blog is fortunate to have a diversity of voices and motherhood perspectives. Contributing to that collective voice is also the valuable writings from our past contributors. The following writers have contributed to our site and we are thankful to them for their support and contributions!
Alicia is a native Minnesotan living in Zumbrota with her husband of 8 years and their two boys (ages 2 and 4). Alicia works full-time writing for the corporate world, which many would consider a total snooze-fest but somehow she enjoys it. She loves her family more than bacon, can multi-task like nobody’s business, and would eat cereal for every meal if she didn’t have to feed her family. When Alicia is not being mom, you can find her Pinteresting garden ideas, doing anything and everything outside, dropping by friends’ houses unannounced, pondering why it has taken her a week to put away the clean, dry and folded laundry sitting in the basket and last but not least, cleaning (because she is a total neat-freak).Allison Loftus is a hometown girl born and raised right here in good old Rochester MN. Her favorite meal of the day is breakfast and she finds it hard to pass up a hot cup coffee with plenty of cream and a sprinkle donut. Occasionally, you may find her daydreaming about traveling to Paris. As well as being a great wife to DKL and mom to three awesome kids, Allison is licensed professional counselor with a heart for women. Allison’s love of supporting moms began with her own personal story of loss. On Father’s Day 2007, she miscarried baby Loftus at 13 weeks gestation. Out of her heartbreak she co-founded HOPE ministry, Hearts Overflowing with Prayer and Encouragement. Helping families heal from the heartache of baby loss gave her the courage to go back to school and get a MA in counseling and psychology. But her willingness to open her heart to vulnerability doesn’t stop there…in 2014 she started Flourish Counseling, which focuses on meeting the mental health needs of women and teen girls in Rochester MN. Her witty, genuine, and supportive personality adds a special touch to her writing as she goes about her business helping women develop lives in which they flourish.When Amarilys played house as a little girl, she would nominate herself as a single career woman… she’d be flying first class to big meetings, not racing home through traffic to make dinner. But her steps lead to a different path. She instead chose to marry her college sweetheart, move to the other side of the world and back, and hunker down in nippy Minnesota with her boys. When Amarilys is not corralling her two sons, you’ll find her painting in her at-home studio. Working as a commercial illustrator has her listening to Christmas music year-round while drowning in watercolored flora and fauna. Her personal work is an outworking of her faith and life experiences. Walking in the wisdom to know what matters most for the moment is an ever-revolving struggle–one worth painting about, blogging about, and encouraging others in. The Puerto Rican Murphy Brown -turned- sassy mommy of a trilingual home wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe the flying first class part. See Amarilys’ Illustration Work at Watercolor Devo.Amy moved to Rochester from Wisconsin in 2012 with her husband of 13 years, Adam, and their two children. Since moving to Rochester, they welcomed child number three to their fun-loving crew. She and her family are very happy to call Rochester home. In 2007, Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Visual Art with an emphasis in Painting. She spent the following 7 years as a Stay at Home Mom and Artist. In 2014, she put on her dancing shoes and became a licensed Zumba Instructor. Since then, she’s been immensely entertaining to her family with her impromptu dance parties in the kitchen. When Amy isn’t busting out her mad dance skills, she’s usually chasing after her kids with camera in hand. She also enjoys being active outdoors with her family. Other hobbies include attempting to garden, running, DIY-ing, eating Korean food, making handmade jewelry, teaching painting classes, going on dinner dates with her hubby and singing in the shower. You can find Amy at her Zumba classes at the Rochester Area Family YMCA and Empowered Wellness & Fitness Studio and learn more about her art at AKrause Studio.A Rochester-area native, Amy is a Midwestern girl to the core. She loves each of the four seasons equally, lives by the “Minnesota Nice” philosophy, and prefers lakes to oceans. Amy always has her hands in a project or two. She knows how to orchestrate one heck of a party and loves planning adventures whether near or far. Her passions also include searching for vintage treasures, tacos, reading, arts and crafts, and trying new things. In her free time, you can find her along with her husband, Alex, and their two-year old son, William (Willy), checking out local events and happenings.Ange is a Yooper (Upper Peninsula native), who lived in Wisconsin for 12 years with her husband Alex and four children before moving to Rochester MN in 2011. Since the birth of their first child in 2001, she has been a stay at home mom. With all her children now in school, you can often find Ange with a paintbrush in her hand working on projects in her home and sharing them on her personal blog. She loves to inspire other women whether it’s in their home with décor and projects or in their own personal journey of motherhood and marriage. Having been diagnosed with Anxiety at the age of 21 and now helping two of her own children manage their own anxiety, Ange enjoys sharing with other moms some resources and tools she has found helpful in her mental health journey and who have children that struggle with anxiety. Ange and her husband love to DIY together and one day dream of flipping a house on the beach. They also love to go on dates around town, hosting parties in their home and raising two teenage daughters, a tween daughter and a 7 year old son. A lover of all things lemon, brass and anything floral, you can read more at Ange’s blog, The Blooming Hydrangea.Brittany is not a Rochester native but happily lives in nearby Pine Island with her teacher-husband, Tyler and their two sons, Riley (December 2013) and Thomas (May 2016). Her husband is from Byron and she moved to the area shortly after marrying Tyler in 2012. Brittany works full time as a Postpartum Doula and Assistant to the Director for Student Reach Minnesota. She is a co-founder and co-owner of MedCity Doulas and is the writer behind Blessed Momma, and an avid-babywearer (founder of Rochester and SE MN Babywearers). She can likely be found doing any of the following with her tots in tote (one in front and one in back): hiking the trails at Oxbow, thrift shopping, attending art openings/musical concerts or in front of her computer playing freelance graphic designer. She loves wearing many hats and making relationships.Beautiful Chaos is the theme to her life. Married to a pastor and a mama to Zion, Zakiyah, and Keza, Christy stays very busy running two businesses. She has a home salon called Tala Hair Studio and a watercolor shop called Christy Cass Art. Coffee, barnwood, blogging, empowering teens and women, baking pies, and decorating are her passions and loves her Rochester community (tribe). Summer is her favorite season, and loves all things yellow! Her addictions are Pinterest, Netflix and Iced Jamaicans at Moka. You can follow along with Christy at ChristyCass.com and on Instagram here, here, and here.With four young kids within five years of each other, Heather’s hands and heart are absolutely full. She’s passionate about good food, literature, social justice, handmade items, and making her house a welcoming and comforting space for all. She also spends a lot of time nursing her long-term relationship with coffee. Heather and her husband Michael blog about homeschooling, living life with a hearty mix of both abandon and intentionality, their future working with refugees in France, and other sundry topics at Those Kinds of People.Jessica is a Rochester transplant from Texas, and she loves the look on people’s faces when she tells them she loves Minnesota winters. She adores the life of being mom to two hilarious boys (5 and 3,) wife of her high school sweetheart, Independent Ambassador for Noonday Collection, and Assistant Director at Rochester’s storied Aldrich Memorial Nursery School. She grew up lucky enough to travel the world with her parents and sister, and she learned that while language, culture, architecture, and lifestyle are greatly varied from one place to another, beauty, kindness, and human connection flourish everywhere. When she’s not working, writing, arguing politics, or chasing her boys, you can find her unplugging with a good movie or (let’s be honest) sleeping in broad daylight. Follow Jessica’s juggling act on Twitter, or on Instagram (also here).Jessica has lived in Rochester for the past 15 years with her husband, Mike, and their two children –Benjamin (10) and Lucy (5). After spending time living abroad in southern England and experiencing a truly walkable/bikeable city life, she began to become frustrated with the car-centric design of Rochester’s streets. Since then she has become very active with volunteer groups in the community and is currently Vice President of We Bike Rochester, which has been leading the effort to create a more bicycle friendly community. She can often be found commuting around town coaxing her oldest child to confidently ride on the streets of Rochester and with her youngest strapped to the front of her beloved orange commuter bicycle. When not biking or advocating for biking, Jessica enjoys giving back to the community in many ways. She teaches a digital photography community education course called Momarazzi Photography and recently had a leadership role in a community impact project with her Leadership Greater Rochester class to install free mini libraries in the yards of 40 Rochester homes. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce and works full time at Mayo Clinic as a Program Manager in Education. You can follow her thoughts on all things #rochmn and #bikerochmn on Twitter and Instagram here and here.Katherine is a full-time, stay-at-home mom to the three most huggable, squeezable kids in the world. When she’s not wiping everything imaginable surface, she’s cooking warm, comforting meals for her family. She believes that life is too short, so you should eat from the heart. You can find her during the week driving like a madwomen to get her preschooler to school on time, catching frogs or other living creatures, or relaxing and sipping tea from a singing Fisher-Price tea set with her daughters.Agriculture has been intertwined in Mamie’s life since birth, as she was raised on a dairy farm, and was a member of both the 4-H and FFA Programs. After a semester as a high school agriculture teacher, she took a job with the UMN Extension as a 4-H Program Coordinator, and completed a Masters Degree. She met her husband Paul at the County Fair. Together they moved on to a small farm and started raising chickens, sheep, and their 2 daughters, Clara and Hazel. Mamie is an “agvocate” and loves to teach others about agriculture and farming. Her daily adventures include collecting dozens of eggs, cleaning straw out of her washing machine, using her hair dryer to warm baby lambs, and raising 2 little girls to love livestock and farming as much as she does. When she isn’t getting her hands dirty on the farm, she’s busy with her career as a Training and Development Liaison at the Mayo Clinic.Sara was born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and has been married to her camp crush, Steve, for 13 years. Together with their three energetic children (born in 2009, 2011, and 2014), they live in Stewartville under a layer of white fur from their lovable lab, Asia. Sara is an online science teacher, and also recently earned her certification as a personal trainer. She has a hard time sitting still, and can often be found working out, completing a DIY project around her house, cooking, playing piano, or participating with InStep Ministries at her church. As an introvert, Sara cherishes time alone sipping coffee, but is also more than happy to partake with a friend. You can follow her on Instagram or Facebook, where she shares healthy living tips.Growing up in a military family, Sara spent her childhood in eight different states before marrying her college sweetheart and settling in Rochester in 2011. Before embarking on healthcare careers, she and her husband both earned degrees in music, which they now put to good use harmonizing Disney lullabies for their three girls, Isla, Lily, and Amelia. She is passionate about yoga and backyard chickens, and will drop everything for a ladies’ night. Amidst the happy chaos that comes with having three kids in four years, she can often be found babywearing the youngest with a glass of wine in one hand and an Ina Garten recipe on the stove. Read more from Sara on her blog, Everyone Romaine Calm.Sarah is a 30-something-year-old Minnesota native who is married to a very kind and exceptionally patient Irishman named Barry. Sarah, Barry, and their 15-year-old rescue pooch named Lady welcomed baby number one (a girl!) into their little Irish-American-Rottshepanese family in January of 2016. Sarah’s journalism experience includes several years as a freelance writer for a handful of regional publications, including the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Prior to the arrival of baby Catherine, her parenting credentials included keeping a dog (the same dog!) alive for the better part of two decades and creeping on BabyCenter’s “January 2016 Birth Club” message boards. When she’s not changing diapers or repeating “please don’t put that in your mouth” x100, Sarah enjoys reading, DIY projects (especially those involving spray paint), and watching murder shows that make her husband uncomfortable.Music is my passion and writing is my outlet. Through both, I desire to be a positive influence in people’s lives. I live this out through my call as a minster serving at NewDay Covenant Church, as a volunteer at the Olmsted County Detention Center in a class for detainees I began called “Your Story / Your Song,” and as a song/writer currently working on “The Worthy People Project” in which I tell the stories of people who find themselves in the muck, mire and margins of life. I have three young children I swore I would never have and am married to a wonderful man who can build something out of absolutely nothing. We savor the simple things as we grow food, drink wine, laugh and roll down the windows to breath deep whenever we pass a freshly cut field of alfalfa. With an aversion to travel, I prefer to stay at home and let my thoughts do the wandering. I’ve called the Rochester area home since 2003. Visit Sarah Monson Music or stay updated by liking “The Worthy People Project” on Facebook.Sarah moved to Rochester in 1997, fresh out of college and has not left. A few jobs later and considerably older, life is full, dirty and smelly. After growing up in Austin (MN) with her mom and sister, Sarah has been blessed with a house full of men. Sarah and her husband have been married for 15 years and together are raising 3 mighty men, Marcus, Maxwell and Mason. If Sarah could give herself a nickname it would be Sporty Spice. Her entire life, career and passion, has revolved around sports and fitness. In the beginning it was coaching volleyball and basketball. Once as a teacher in the Rochester Public School, then as a health educator and wellness coach at the Mayo Clinic, and forever as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer, Sarah is helping others find a way to improve their health and wellness. Recently, Sarah began working at Clements Subaru as a Product Specialist in addition to actively growing the Nguyen’s AdvoCare business. To label Sarah would be difficult because she has so many roles. Mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, fitness guru, entrepreneur, cook, chauffeur, schedule manager, swim mom, baseball mom…..to name a few. Life is full, life is dirty and at times really smelly. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.Shari grew up near Rochester in tiny Millville, MN. After graduation she moved to Duluth to attend UMD, with big dreams of eventually moving East. Unbeknownst to her, life had other plans. She returned to the Rochester area after 5 years and began working at the Mayo Clinic. As chance would have it she met her husband, Piyush, at the local Indian restaurant during a very embarrassing belly-dance performance! The rest, they say, is kismet. They married in 2009 on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. Before she met Piyush, Shari was a horrible cook. Luckily, that all changed. Once she was married, she started seeing food as a hobby instead of a chore– and that made all the difference. She enjoys learning about, making, eating and introducing her opinionated toddler to different foods and cuisines. She’s not one to discriminate (usually), but does have a soft spot for a spicy Indian curry and a steaming cup of chai! You can see what Shari’s cooking by following her on Instagram or find some of her recipes by visiting her blog: Spiced Up Mom.Shawna is a long-time writer, an avid reader, a wannabe photographer and a genuine Minnesotan. Most importantly, though, she’s the proud mom of two beautiful daughters – Sophia and Savannah. A single, working mom who built her family through adoption and biology, Shawna is also a Product Manager at Mayo Clinic, a chronic dreamer, a big idea generator, a frequent laugher and a daily coffee consumer. The O’Reillys love game nights, living room dance parties, cooking dinner together and family story time, which sometimes includes books and sometimes centers on elaborate, spontaneously-generated tales not yet committed to paper.Stacy grew up in Rochester, but spent the next several years of her life traversing the globe, temporarily setting down roots anywhere and everywhere. Stacy is extremely passionate about the world of adoption and foster care, having spent a year in Uganda adopting her oldest daughter in 2008. Now a wife to Jesse and mama to three little loves, aged ten to one, Jesse’s career brought their family back “home” in January. Stacy obtained a Master’s degree in child psychology in 2007, but currently uses it only on her own children! A stay-at-home mama since moving back to Rochester, Stacy has stayed busy keeping her children alive and relatively entertained. She loves her little crazy crew fiercely and is enjoying exploring Rochester through new eyes. When she’s not chasing her kiddos, Stacy is likely traveling or daydreaming about traveling. She also enjoys coffee shops, silly amounts of “cop drama” shows, and perusing pinterest for ideas that have little chance of ever getting done. But they’re good to have. Just in case.Steph is a newly-divorced momma originally from central Wisconsin, who has lived in the Rochester area for 8 years. She has a 4 year-old daughter named Sydney and a large lab named Gus, who is a bigger kid than the 4 year-old! Steph works full-time for a non-profit in Rochester as a social worker and studies for her Master’s Degree in social work during her (limited) free time. She enjoys reading and pop culture crossword puzzles to keep her sharp! Also coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Which is essential, as she was recently diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic autoimmune condition. With this new diagnosis comes a new reality of parenting her child while managing a chronic illness. A journey she did not plan to take, but a necessary one to get back to the precipice of health. Steph is passionate about learning and sharing helpful information with others, which is one of the reasons she applied to contribute to this Rochester MN Mom Blog community! She is learning how to slow down and take care of herself first, which is a new concept for this high-level multi-tasker. She hopes her candid and honest writings resonate with other mommas out there struggling with health issues and/or divorce and separation.