03 December 2013

Every Mom Has A Story: Elizabeth Kaplan

Every Mom Has A Story: Liz

I have known Liz since 10th grade.  I know God put her in my life for a reason.  I was so lonely my Sophomore year.  I was going through a lot of foot pain before my big surgery (tumor removal) and I felt very displaced in school.  Liz and I met in gym class (she had just moved to Old Bridge) and we both hit it off instantly.  We sat with each other on the bus to school and we became best friends almost within days.  

Liz (35) is the nicest person.  She is so easy to talk to.  She is so encouraging, and she is a GREAT mom.  We both went to Rowan University together and we lived in the same dormitory our Sophomore year of college before she headed off to Rutgers the following year.  She was an education major and minored in English.  She also has her Masters Degree from Rutgers!

Liz got married right after college.  She was married in 2000, three years before John and I got married.  And just like us they waited a long time before having kids.  Liz has two beautiful children Brenna Elle (6 1/2) and Brody Jack (5).  They are 15 months apart.  When Liz found out I was pregnant with Julia she took me to Babies R Us to help me register.  Brenna is literally one year and 3 days older than Julia.  And Brody is one year older than Mark.  So Liz has not only helped me with kid advice, but she's given us clothes, toys, books, because she would always go through things a year before I was about to.  Our kids are best friends and I'm so thankful for Liz in my life.  She is a Middle School English Teacher and she is awesome at her job.  I know sometimes it has been hard working outside of the home.  I long for the summers when I can see her more.  I call her "Summer time Liz" because we always make sure to see each other a lot during the summer with the kids since she has time off from school.

Here is Liz's story...

1. When I first found out I was going to be a mommy, I was beyond thrilled. Craig and I had been married for over 6 years and never really felt ready to start a family. However, when my niece was born and we held her in our arms for the first time, everything changed. We tried for months to get pregnant and were frustrated with every negative pregnancy test result. However, after 7 months, when the test read positive, the joy was overwhelming!
2. I felt pretty overwhelmed when I brought Brenna home. Although she was a full term baby, the fact that she was refusing to eat, couldn't maintain her body temperature and had a slow heartbeat caused her to spend her first 5 days of life in an incubator in the NICU. It was scary to see the baby you had been waiting so long for attached to loud alarms! After the five days, we did bring her home and I was extremely paranoid about keeping her warm. I remember keeping the hat on her at ALL times and having my heat set to 79 degrees at all time(she was born in the beginning of January). With the help of my mom, I was able to relax after the first few weeks!
3. Working is necessary but really tough. The worst is hearing my kids tell me that I work too much--that they wish I could spend more time with them. I explain to them that mommy has to work, but I will always have time for them. I don't know if I do a good job juggling--I don't feel like it on most days. I make sure that no matter what we always sit down and eat dinner together so that we can talk about the day's events. And I do my best to do NO work on weekends--especially Sunday which is our family day!
4. Our bedtime routine is my favorite tradition because it is the only time of day that my kids will actually cuddle with me anymore. I read 3 stories (lately it has become 3 chapters of a chapter book!) and then I sing the song that I have sung to my kids since the day they were each born--"I love you, you love me, we're a happy family. . . " and they end the last part with giving me hugs and kisses. Not sure how much longer this will last, but I will hold on to it as long as I can!
5. Although I work, I actually do get to stay at home with them during the 2 month summer vacation. I love not feeling the anxiety of having deadlines; I love being able to keep my house "decently" tidy, and most of all, I love taking my kids out and about on different adventures, mostly to spend time with family and friends. The most frustrating part about it is the lack of appreciation that the kids show me some time. I can spend hours somewhere so that they can have a good time, and as soon as we leave, they say how bored they are and that they never have any fun--WHAT?!?!? Also, it is frustrating how easily the kids get bored, even if we just spent 2 hours on a play date, as soon as we spend 10 minutes at home, they are complaining about how there is nothing to do! That is probably something I need to work on--keeping them busy ALL the time.
6. Easy question! My mom definitely inspires me as I know it was not easy to raise 2 kids and have to work. I definitely have a new appreciation for everything she did for me and my brother! My aunt Debbie too! She stopped teaching in order to stay home with her 4 kids (all of them within 4 years of each other)!!! Now with an 18, 17, and 2- 16 year olds, not only does she look great , but she has raised smart, amazing kids who have great heads on their shoulders and appreciation for all their parents to for them! I can only hope to have my kids grow up to be so well-rounded! That is a testament to her!
7. I want to be remembered as a mom that will do anything for her kids. Not money wise, but time-wise and emotionally! Consistency is something I work on every day!
8. Advice?? Take it one day at a time. There will be times where at the end of the day, you will sit down and say, 'wow, today I was a terrible mom.' However, don't beat yourself up about it. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day! And when you wake up those cuties in the morning, they will smile at you and hold no grudges!

Liz you are such a wonderful mom. I love you so much. Thank you for being such a great friend to me and helping me as we raise Julia, Mark, and Micah. We cherish your friendship!!!


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