Real Talk: Getting Trolled/Mommy Wars

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Once a month, I write a blog post for the Cedar Rapids Moms Blog. I love connecting with local moms, and have made some wonderful friendships by being a writer with them. You can see all the posts I’ve written for CRMB here. I’ve really learned a lot and have definitely seen an improvement in my writing.

I always enjoy when I get comments on my posts. For one, it confirms for me that people (besides my parents) actually read my writing. Two, it’s always been something complimentary or validating, and who doesn’t like a choir of people saying “Right on! I agree!”?

My latest post was titled “Four Hours with my Kids: A Working Mom’s Reality,” and I talked about the challenges of being a full-time working mom. Namely – only getting to spend limited time with my kids before and after work during the week. In it, I was honest, and said I enjoy working, but sometimes I feel guilty not wanting to be a stay at home mom.

When I saw I had received a comment on my post, I was excited to see what someone had written. Not thinking that my post might be controversial AT ALL, I eagerly read the response. It said:

“Sorry but you feel guilty, because someone else is raising your children! Being with your kids 4hours (sic) a day is not giving them what they need. You are thinking about yourself, that’s why you feel guilty. You are fooling yourself, trust me every child wants to be with their mom. Make a sacrifice for a few years until they are in school, you will never get that time back!” -Sandy

Whoa – talk about a gut punch. I didn’t even see it coming. Someone quickly came to the defense of all working moms and responded:

“Wow Sandy – you must have been one that was able to stay at home with your kids. Lucky you (note sarcasm). I myself am a working mom – because I want to and my husband is self-employed. Quite frankly, I don’t feel guilty about leaving my kids at daycare. I know they are learning more there than they ever would at home with me. Most importantly, they get to learn how to play and interact with other children – they aren’t stuck in the same four walls with me every day. My thought for you – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all. Hopefully your kids learned that when they were home with you…” -Lea Ann

Neither comment was very nice. And they both just further promoted what we know as “Mommy Wars.” Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding, SAHM vs. working mom, public vs. private school – and the list goes on.

I know “trolling” happens on blog posts and social media all the time. It’s hard to please everyone, nor should that be the goal. I didn’t take the post personally, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything Lea Ann voiced in her rebuttal, either. I have lots of friends who are SAHM’s and they love it and are wonderful at it.

But, we’re all moms. We all want what is best for our children, and what is best for our personal situations. Promoting or participating in “Mommy Wars” does no good – it just further divides us. I never expect that everyone will agree with my choices 100%. I can only support my fellow moms and write from my heart.

In my heart – being a working mom is me. And I’m proud of that. To quote from the post:

“I pray that they’re seeing first-hand that women can have a successful career and a family, and give them both her all. That they’re getting what they need from me, my husband, and the village that is helping us raise them.”

Let’s stop the mommy wars and band together to join team mom. Lord knows there are plenty of other conflicts and disagreements out in the world today….and I can’t think of a better team to promote love and understanding and support.

Leo’s 1st Birthday Par-Tee

After searching Pinterest for 1st birthday party ideas, I settled on a golf themed party for baby Leo. It was taking place in the middle of summer, in our back yard, and our family loves to play golf. So we planned a 1st birthday PAR-TEE, complete with his very first set of golf clubs!


2-tiered cake and smash cake: Countertop Cakes

Embroidered birthday shirt: Etsy


Golf Clubs (Brats and Hotdogs)

Putt-ato Salad

Par Pasta Salad

Chip Shots (Chips)

Watermelon Slices

Range Balls (Popcorn Puffs)

Donut Hole-in-Ones (Donut holes)

Arnold Palmers


2013 in Review

2013 was an AMAZING year! This week, I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers writing their year in review, and I really liked that idea. 2013 was full of weddings, and parties, changes and trips, and overall it was a wonderful year! So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite moments from 2013!

  • In February I started my new blog, Our Little Ivory Tower! I wrote 47 posts in 2013, and I’m excited to see how I can grow my blog in 2014. I absolutely love having a writing outlet and a way to keep in touch with my family and friends. It has also been a great way for me to document my life and it serves as a “live” scrapbook.
  • In March my sissy moved to Colorado, which was incredibly sad, but also so exciting for her! She got a promotion working for Victoria Secret, and shortly after moving she got ANOTHER promotion and was given her OWN STORE to manage. She is doing an awesome job and loving being out in Denver!

Mar  VS

  • Also in March, G & I did some fundraising for the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. So many of our family and friends helped by donating and we were able to raise $250 for the local organization to help send veterans to Washington D.C. to see the WWII Memorial.
  • In April my bestie Megan invited me to be her +1 for a work trip she earned to Austin, TX! All expenses paid, we spend a long weekend exploring Austin with an awesome group of people, as well as a couple days at an amazing resort. We were pampered, ate like queens, and had an awesome #palsweekend overall. The trip was definitely a top highlight of 2013!


  • At the end of April, I helped to host my dear friend Tiffany’s bachelorette party in Des Moines, which was a blast with old and new friends.

bachelorette party

  • In May I celebrated another bachelorette, my roommate from college Katie, in Nashville! It was my first time to ‘Music City’ and I loved every minute of it. We danced to country music, bought cowboy boots, and drank till the sun came up. It was another amazing girlfriends trip!


  • In June I got to stand up as a bridesmaid in Tiffany and Nick’s wedding. It was one of the most fun bridal parties I’ve ever been a part of and the wedding was beautiful and classy and SO much fun.

Malcom Wedding

  • In July G & I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary! He posted this on Facebook which absolutely melted my heart 🙂 He’s not a big “sharer” on Facebook, so that made it all the more special. It’s good to be me, too!



  • Also in July, I was a bridesmaid in Katie and Sean’s wedding in the Quad Cities. It was a gorgeous wedding and incredibly special and truly a wedding I will never forget.

Laird Sisters

  • In August we attended my 10 year class reunion. I rode in our class float, watched old class videos from elementary and high school days, and enjoyed catching up with my classmates, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 10 years!

Class of 2003

  • In September we went out to Colorado with my parents to visit Marlee and Andrew. We went to a Reds/Rockies game, hiking in the mountains, exploring Denver and Boulder, and had a lot of family fun time.

Mountains Family

  • Also in September, we traveled to Missouri for our friends Stephanie and Horacio’s wedding. So many of our friends who G grew up with were there, and we had a great time dancing the night away and catching up with old friends.

Wedding fun

  • In October I got to go to Las Vegas for work to exhibit at the NBWA Tradeshow. Not only was it beautiful weather while we were there, I learned a lot and even had some time to explore the city.

Las Vegas

  • In November I participated in NaBloPoMo and blogged {almost} every day in the month of November. We also spent Thanksgiving in Fort Dodge with the Ivorys, and went to G’s cousin’s wedding.


  • In December my sister got engaged!!! Her fiance Andrew took her up into the mountains for a relaxing weekend, and ended it by putting a beautiful ring on her finger. We are looking forward to the wedding planning to come in 2014, and a wedding in 2015! I’m so excited for them and excited for Andrew to become a part of our family.

Future Newbergs

  • Also in December, I decorated for Christmas  and we went to Chicago to celebrate the holiday with my mom’s side of the family. We also got together in Cedar Falls with G’s family to open presents and enjoy a really fun lunch at a Japanese steakhouse.

Christmas Tree

As you can see, 2013 was a really exciting and eventful year. We’re expecting another fun and and crazy year in 2014, and I can’t wait to share it all with you again. My goal for 2013 is to take one picture everyday to document the year {thanks for the idea, Mix and Match Mama!}, and to take time to enjoy my family and friends, because life is too short to not be around those you love.

Tonight G & I are going to ring in the New Year together by going out for a fancy dinner at 350 First and possibly to a movie, then probably home to watch the ball drop on TV. I’m really looking forward to it! Tomorrow we will spend Jan 1 relaxing and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes play LSU in the Outback Bowl! GOOOOO HAWKS!

I hope you all have a safe and happy new year, and look forward to seeing you all in 2014!

FATerday Thanksmas! NaBloPoMo Day 9


Merry Thanksmas and Happy Christgiving! (Thanks Jeffy for those!) Check out that dinner plate!!! Today, this wasn’t a Saturday, it was a flat out FATERDAY! We had an amazing dinner tonight and even got to open some presents. Pretty excited about my new stuff from Loft, Victoria’s Secret, and Bath & Body Works! Having family members who have jobs in retail is preeeeetty great! I am stuffed and trying to make room to have a pumpkin bar or some apple crisp for dessert. Deep breathes and time for some thanksgiving eatin’ pants….


Phoebe: Joey! Those are my maternity pants!
Joey: No, no! These are my Thanksgiving pants!!!!

Earlier today we watched the Hawkeyes kick Purdue’s butt and become bowl eligible {whoo hoo!}, and got to see our favorites Jeff and Betty! We also went shopping in Dysart, which has become quite the local destination with lots of little boutiques and small gift stores. I was so impressed by how many cute shops they had to offer. I even picked up this adorable Christmas decoration! I think it will fit in great with my kitchen decor, and a bought few other little odds and ends.


Tomorrow my sissy heads back to Colorado, and we go back to CR. Boooo! It’s amazing how quickly the weekend goes, especially when you’re with your nearest and dearest. We’re only in week two of November and I have so much to be thankful for.

I can’t wrap up today without wishing my favorite blogger and DIYer, and Zeta sister Brittney  a happy, happy 30th birthday! The Hawks were kind enough to give ya a birthday win! Britt, I hope you celebrated at the beach with your adorable family and had a great day!!!

So, what did you do this weekend? Fellow NaBloPoMoers how are you doing??

TGIF! – NaBloPoMo Day 8

I’m so excited it’s Friday because I have been looking forward to this weekend since we left Colorado in September! My sissy is home to celebrate the holidays! I know, I know…..we’re a little early! But my sis is a Victoria Secret rock star in Colorado and this is her last weekend free before the holiday shopping madness begins. (Helllllllo Black Friday–it’s almost here!)

At first we were planning to all out “do Christmas“. But then we decided we would just do a little Thanksgiving and a little Christmas this weekend, then mail the rest of our gifts in December. So that was good because I was WAY BEHIND and did not have my shopping completely done. And getting perfect, thoughtful gifts takes time, friends!

So I’m blogging on my lunch hour from my phone (isn’t technology amazing??) so I can just enjoy my family tonight and not have to worry about my daily post,  and after work we’ll hop in the car and head up to Traer for a family-fun weekend {and likely lots and lots of wine!} Tomorrow my mama is making turkey and potatoes and stuffing and all our other holiday favorites and we will enjoy a weekend of hanging out, EATING TOO MUCH, and relaxing before the ACTUAL holiday season begins. The holidays are about being with the people you love and that’s exactly what I get to do this weekend!!! So Happy pre-Thanksgiving, and Merry early Christmas!!

What are your plans for this weekend?? Any other early holiday-ers???

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words – NaBloPoMo Day 3

I absolutely love looking at old photos. I could spend hours days looking at vintage pictures of my family, friends, and self from years past. Seeing pictures of my parents when they were my age, of my husband and his brother before I knew them, or of me and my friends at elementary birthday parties can put a smile on my face like few other things can.

I spent some time on Halloween night looking at old pictures of my sister and I in childhood Halloween costumes. A kitten, a clown, a doctor….all kinds of hilariousness. I love how the memories come flooding back when you see an old photo. For instance, I had totally forgotten about the “pumpkin flashlights” we used to get every year to carry while trick-or-treating, and how my dad always set up a card table in our dining room to hold the bowl of candy to be passed out and to display all the pumpkins we had carved.


And then the next day my dad sent me this gem of a memory….

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Seriously! People don’t keep pictures like that any more! Think about it…..using digital cameras these days, that photo would have been deleted in a heart beat. My eyes are closed, my sister is looking a different direction, and my dad’s arm is in the way. No way would that have been saved, let alone printed out! But my dad loves this picture so much he has it hanging in a frame on his office wall. And that’s part of what makes old photos so charming. You never knew what you were going to get until you picked up your pictures.

Last night after all the extended family had left from G’s grandma’s 70th birthday fiesta, we pulled out a big box of old pictures and spent a couple hours looking, laughing and reminiscing. Pictures of his parents as kids and young adults, G & his brother as babies, through elementary, and high school, and pictures of vacations, weekend projects and family gatherings. I couldn’t get enough!

I still like to use a disposable camera from time to time. Sure, it doesn’t take half as good of a picture as my little iPhone, and if you forget to “charge” the flash you end up wasting a picture. And people literally look at you like you’re INSANE if you ask them to take your picture and hand them that little yellow camera. But someday I want my future kids to have the joy of sitting at a kitchen table, flipping through an old box of pictures–pictures that include closed eyes and dorky smiles. A couple months ago, when I took a disposable camera to Hy-Vee to get developed, the employee had to search high and low for the developing envelopes. The next day when I went to pick them up, she remembered me and said she hadn’t seen anyone use one of those in a VERY long time.

I wouldn’t be surprised if an elementary kid didn’t know what these were:


14306-disposable_1_superThat makes me so sad!! I hardly ever take the time these days to print out my digital pictures. I keep SD cards in random drawers and download my pictures on my computer, but a couple weeks ago, I had the misfortune of a crashed hard drive. Lots of those pictures I’ll never get back, except the ones I had on Facebook or those various SD cards laying around. I don’t want my future children sitting around someday flipping through a Facebook album though. I want them to sort through real, live, physical pictures and laugh about our outfits and outdated furnishings. So, to make it easier I’ve downloaded the Walgreens app, and I’m making a point to print pictures from time to time, and stuff them in a box. I’ve thought about designing and ordering picture books from Snapfish or Shutterfly as an option, too. The idea of making a family “year book” is something I’ve seen on Pinterest and really like.

So tell me, how do you organize your photos? Do you still use a disposable camera or 35mm film for fun? And if you really want to make me smile, send me your favorite vintage photo! It doesn’t get much better than this: