Meet the Team! A Look at the Moms Behind

More Than Just a Website

Ever wonder who’s writing those Facebook posts for It’s not the all-powerful Oz pulling all the bells and whistles. It’s a real live mom (or two) right here in Grand Rapids!

What began as a one woman venture by our founder Melody VanderWeide has grown into a full-blown enterprise that serves thousands upon thousands of families across West Michigan. And as energetic as Melody is, there are not enough hours in the day for one person to keep this ship afloat. That’s where we, the contributors, come in. We help run the Facebook page, manage the events calendar, handle marketing and advertising, write guides and the newsletter, research for and write articles, manage all the giveaways and more.

We thought you might like a look at the faces behind Each woman brings special skills to the table that ensure a consistent product for you. We are proud to be part of such a great team and are excited to bring you the best local content for your family!

–April Hunt, Editor

Leadership Team

dsc_0861Melody VanderWeide

Founder and Director

INFJ. Mom of 3. Idea chaser-People believer-Inspiration seeker. Together we make GR amazing – Let’s go!

[email protected]


Peg Theobald

General Manager

Peg is an adventure-seeker, coffee lover, amateur baker, urban dweller, and self-proclaimed GR-enthusiast. She is passionate about nap time, podcasts, reading to her boys, spicy tacos, emojis and date night.

[email protected]

Marketing Team


Andrea Davis

Marketing Manager

Andrea is excited about joining the GRKids team after spending 12years in the corporate world as a digital marketing and sales director. She is a Chicago native who moved to Grand Rapids in 2010 with her husband. She is the mom of two sweet and strong-willed daughters, as well as a lovable 100lb rescue pup. She loves traveling and exploring new cities, trail running, and listening to podcasts and audiobooks (since there doesn’t seem to be much time for books anymore). Andrea is also a realtor with Keller Williams and especially loves showing her clients that are new to the area all the wonderful things Grand Rapids has to offer.


Keri Siemens

Ad Manager, Writer, Researcher, Newsletter 

Keri is a mom of four who enjoys “pizza and movie nights” at home with the family. When she is not managing ads for grkids, chauffeuring children, or trying out a new crockpot recipe, you can probably find her attempting to enjoy a cup of coffee before it gets cold.

[email protected]


dsc_0878Erin Russell

Office Manager & Sales Support

Erin is a musician who attempts to balance out her right-brained career choice with some left-brained office management and organization here at grkids. During the lulls in her active schedule, Erin enjoys time with her family, cottage time by the lake and trying out new recipes for healthy meals. She live in Grand Rapids with her husband and two children.

dsc_0874Tiffany Kamphuis

Giveaway Manager & Calendar Coordinator

Tiffany is a mom of three busy young boys. When she’s not chasing after her sons or working on the calendar for grkids, she can be found taking portraits of children and families for her photography business. She loves living in Holland with her husband and sons, and enjoys the lakeshore area while still being only a short drive away from Grand Rapids.

Writing & Research Team


 April Hunt


April is a stay-at-home-working-mom hybrid who balances her time between managing a household and using her editor brain to find all the typos in her friends’ emails. In her occasional free time she enjoys reading, quilting, antiquing and photography. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children.

[email protected]


Sara White


Sara lives in Grand Rapids. She enjoys spending time with her husband, being Mama to her two kids, reading and writing, playing the cello, and eating good food with friends. 2

Jill Clarin

Research Team

Jill is a mom to two who loves living in West Michigan and being able to enjoy all the area has to offer. Her other loves include trying out new recipes in the kitchen, visiting local parks and trails with her children, and photographing the everyday moments of her family.

dsc_0837Stephanie Pearson


Stephanie is an architect, turned graphic designer and PTO momma of 3. A wannabe photographer, travel agent, party planner, and do-gooder at heart, she enjoys filling her family’s schedules and the lives of others, while obsessively documenting it along the way.


Kate Randall


Kate considers herself incredibly lucky to be a full time mom and part time time school social worker for Hamilton Community Schools.  While at home, she loves spending time with her kids, Cooper and Zoe. Kate loves all things creative and messy, playing games, gardening, biking, reading, and summers off with her awesome teacher-husband, Kevin.

Carla Brooks


Carla is an Oregon born, Michigan raised photographer, writer, mom of two awesome boys, and wife to poet Sareem Poems. Carla enjoys adventuring, playing the piano and singing, trying different foods, reading or watching a good story, and most of all spending time with her family.

Carla Hardy


Carla is a wife and a mom to one adorable little girl. She enjoys reading, catching up with family and friends, organizing, finding new and fun things to do with her daughter, taking far too many pictures, and binge watching TV shows and movies on Netflix with her husband.


Mary Ward


Mary is a local mama who enjoys exploring the city of Grand Rapids. She operates a Grand Rapids play group and enjoys learning about fun things for families to do in the area. Mary and her husband David transplanted to Grand Rapids from Livonia in 2008.

dsc_0810Kathleen Shaffer

Event Researcher

Kathleen loves to read and has happily turned her love of books into playing Librarian in Hudsonville. She also loves graphic design and photography and her daughter has learned to smile for the camera early on. She and her husband enjoy binge watching TV shows on Netflix after a long day.

Facebook Team

dsc_0798Patti Bartels

Facebook Team Manager

Patti was born and raised in Grand Rapids and has lived here all her life. She enjoys traveling with her husband and three kids. She is hyper-organized and uses those skills to run her household as a stay at home mom. She seldom has time to herself, but when she does she enjoys reading a good book.

contact via message on our Facebook page

dsc_0828Julie Balanda

Facebook Team

As her kids’ biggest fan, Julie can be found on any given day chauffeuring, cheering on and snapping pictures of her active Forest Hills kids at their soccer, baseball, tennis, basketball, field hockey, football, volleyball games. (Not to mention choir, orchestra, scouts and more!) When there’s a lull in her cheerleading schedule, Julie loves cooking up something new in the kitchen and exploring Michigan with her husband and five children.

[email protected]


Kristi Hertstein

Facebook Admin & Social Media Relations

I am a mother of four great kids ranging from a freshmen to a 1st grader. My heart beats to serve, whether here in my home, community or across the globe in Ethiopia, the birth country of our youngest. I’ve been married to Jesse for over 18 years. I couldn’t be more grateful that he’s my partner in this wild ride of parenting. I’m a lover of coffee and chocolate. I enjoy spending time with others, drinking coffee, reading, cheering on my kids, to name a few. I’m often found in the minivan toting kids to soccer, football and rowing. I am fortunate to be part of the GRKIDS team.


Kim Guider

Facebook Admin & Research Team

Kimberly is a stay at home mommy to 2 sweet and busy little ones. She enjoys DIY house projects, photography, dreaming about her next beach vacation, and trying new recipes (that her kids will inevitably NOT eat). Most of her day is spent answering the question, “Why?” Most nights she can be found staying up way too late watching reality TV shows and HGTV. She loves exploring our great city and discovering new and exciting events and activities for her family to enjoy!

By | 2017-05-25T20:02:29+00:00 May 23rd, 2014|Categories: General|8 Comments

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  1. Shannon Kowalke March 20, 2017 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    How do I sign up for your newsletter I would love to vote on your next top docs around town:)

  2. Sarah Moe May 5, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    I just discovered this brilliant page! Love it…I am in Northeast MI and I want to have this for our community. Great work!

  3. Jackie Selleck May 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Nice work ladies!

  4. Willow Cramer May 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    site opps!!!

  5. Willow Cramer May 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    Wow didn’t know your team was so big!! Thanks so much for all each one of you do!! I don’t know what I would do without your sight!!

    • Melody V
      Melody V May 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Thanks Willow! It takes a village! =)

  6. Meredith May 23, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    This was great! I actually learned a few things about our team too.

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