Family Matters Day 3: Erica and Kendall…and introducing my third grandchild!

I’ve been loving the interaction we’ve had this week sharing about our families! One mom said that she has loved sharing about one child at a time because too often we group them together and forget to “call out” their uniqueness.  I so agree!

Erica is my third child. She and Kendall will celebrate their third anniversary in September.

Erica has been my strong-willed, challenging child. I shared (with her permission) about that journey at one of our Hearts at Home conferences. She was the prodigal that we prayed would return to her foundation of faith.

And she has.

If you have a prodigal, may this encourage you.  Parenting Erica was, well…exhausting. God has redeemed that hard season, though. I wrote about that in my “Bonus Year” post last year.

Erica is a musician, an artist, and a photographer. She also is an active blogger. You can find her blog here, where she talks about sewing cloth diapers and saving money.

Erica and Kendall live in Killeen, TX, where Kendall is stationed with the Army at Ft. Hood. They are also the parents of my third grandchild born this past Saturday 7 weeks early. Weighing in at 4lbs. 11oz, Marie Isabella is having a challenging start at life, but she’s strong and so are her mommy and daddy.

Erica’s “strong-will” is now carrying her through the difficult beginnings of motherhood. I knew that strong will would be put to good use at some point in her life!

I will be heading to Texas in a few weeks to help Erica and Kendall after little Marie comes home from the hospital. They expect her to be in the NICU for several weeks. It’s so hard to be so far away in such a time of need!  However, I plan to be there for two weeks when it’s the best time for me to help.

If you have three of more children, I’d love to hear about your third child, today! (If you are reading this in email, you can leave a comment here. Simply click and then scroll down to the bottom of this post and click on ‘comments’ to share!)


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37 thoughts on “Family Matters Day 3: Erica and Kendall…and introducing my third grandchild!

  1. My third (and probably last) is Christine. She is two years old. After having two boys its such a joy to have such a sweet daughter! She is developmentally delayed but is making progress. She adores her big brothers and has such a sympathetic spirit. If anyone is crying or upset then she is too. Someday I hope that will grow into a good quality. Right now its a little much when we have days when we’re all in tears together. 😉

    • Wani, it sounds like Christine has the gift of mercy. She feels for other people. I’m sure that will be a good quality in the future!

  2. Our third child, Kyra, is 2 1/2. She came into our family at 20 months old as a foster daughter. She had been in foster care since birth and was not ready to be adopted. The loving foster mom she had been with since birth was not able to adopt her so she was moved to our home for adoption. She is African American so learning about her hair care has been very challenging yet fun. Although all of our children are adopted Kyra is the only one that has not been with us since birth. It has been a little more challenging to bond with her but it keeps getting better every day.

  3. I feel kind of silly. I was just reading about your 3rd child and wondered to myself why in the world I didn’t separate my twins yesterday when I posted about my seconds. I’ve always been so good about addressing them as individuals and referring to them as such. When you posted about the mom who said she enjoyed talking about each of her children because she could celebrate their uniqueness, I realized how I’d lumped Abby and Ellie together. : ) So glad they can’t read yet. Abby was my actual 2nd. Ellie followed one minute later, becoming my 3rd little girl and was about 1 lb heavier weighing in at 5lb 6 oz. Ellie is having the harder time out of the two dealing with their older sister, Jordan, going to Kindergarten every day. But she’ll do better when SHE starts Pre K after Labor Day and also gets to ride that school bus she keeps seeing sweep her sis away.

  4. I have three children too. Wyatt is my oldest at 8. Cody is next at 6. They are 25 months apart in age. My last baby is Sadie and she is 4 years younger than Wyatt and 23 months younger than Cody. My hands were full by the time she came along. After a very difficult pregnancy filled with complications, Sadie was born a month early and wasn’t breathing. She weighed 5lb 2oz. She was such a tiny little thing and had no desire to eat. She couldn’t regulate her temperature and the nurses were quite nervous about this and were constantly barking orders and threats at us. I knew that this girl, my baby girl, would be fine. After all, she was the spitting image of me so all that sass was going to serve her well. Although her weight dropped and she ate very little she chugged right along. She slowly grew but had no medical or physical problems. I remember her being several months old before she reached 10lbs. what a milestone that was. This little princess was the light of our lives. Her brothers absolutely adored her and doted on her hand and foot (still do). She was instantly Daddy’s little princess and she had him forever wrapped around her finger. Sadie turned 4 in June. She is my most strong willed child. She will put her hands on her hips and give you the “what’s what” when you don’t follow her rules and commands. She is amazingly strong willed and obstinate I thought Wyatt was going to be the one to do us in). She is also overwhelmingly sweet and filled with love. She adores her brothers (she calls them “her boys”) and misses them terribly when they are not home. There is something incredibly moving watching her with her daddy. They have a connection that I will never fully understand but I don’t care. That love will serve her well. She will forever have a role model of how a man should treat her and love her. She is my baby girl, my mini me. She exhausts and exasperates me to my core on a daily basis. She also shares a passion for the Lord and her family that make my mama heart swell with pride. She is teaching me so much and I am so thankful that she is who she is. Life would just be so much less fun without Sadie Grace and her out of this world personality. Everyone who spends some time with her says that she is going to do big things. I know she will. That’s why she entered the world the way she did.

  5. Zoom! Busy. Happy. Friendly. The Con-ado arrived and she has been shaking the house in delight ever since! She sings, she dances, she performs her shows for the family. She enjoys her friends and being chased by the boys on the playground. She had a little boy come up to her the first day of Kindergarten and say, “I’m going to marry you.” She replied, ” So what’s your name anyways, Kid?”

    The baby in God’s hands, as her older sister wrote when she was born, has grown much and brought much noise and song to our home. She is our delight and her verse is Psalm 147:11.

  6. On a personal note, my fourth child came 5 wks early and his lungs were not ready. They did cpr on him when he was born. He spent a week in NICU and a week in the regular nursery at the hospital. He was a little less than six pounds–big in his area of the hospital. All hooked up with beeps coming from what seemed like everywhere, I found it a comfort to have two matching small receiving blankets that was a gift to us. I kept one with him at the hospital and one with me at home. A great tear catcher when I was looking at his yet empty bassinet. Praying your granddaughter will grow and be ready to go home very soon. She is beautiful!

  7. My third is Arabella. She is 20 months old. She has 2 big sisters and 1 little sister. She loves to follow her big sisters around and try to do what they are doing. She also loves her baby sister, but doesn’t quite grasp the meaning of the word gentle. 🙂 Her favorite animals are ducks. She is very talkative around home, but shy around new people. When we pray she folds her hands and adds an emphatic AMEN at the end. She is so sweet and loves to be held, but usually only for a few seconds so it’s a constant game of up and down. 🙂 I’m so blessed that I am her mom and that I get to stay at home and watch her grow.

  8. My 3rd child, John, was a mystery at the beginning. After a strong willed first born and a very attached second son, my third required very little
    He wanted to eat and then sleep. I thought there was something wrong with him! He was chubby and oh so cute. His brown hair at birth was replaced with curly white hair. He became our middle child and got very little attention. But John was happy and always had a smile. He was our comedian! Now, 27 years later, he is a wonderful, playful daddy to 3 daughters with one on the way. I’m so thankful for him!

  9. My 3rd child is my little Levi. He is 3 years old and a wonderful little boy! Levi is sweet and loves to cuddle with me and his big sisters. He is such a great kid and has a huge heart. He loves everyone in his life and is very social. Love him!!

  10. My first is my prodigal son right now. He breaks my heart daily and if it wasn’t for the grace of God, I’d probably give up.
    My third child is my sweet John, 5 years old and the first born of my twins. John is my quiet, introspective child. He’s happiest playing by himself with his action figures. He is sweet and willing to help and quick to smile at anyone. He loves dinosaurs and anything super hero like because of Daddy. He loves to play games and just sit near me. I love him with all of my heart.

    • Michelle,

      Don’t give up….God is at work. I just prayed for your firstborn. You’re not alone.

  11. My third and last child, Grace-ann is 5 years old. Jill, she is strong-willed and a challenge and you are right about it being exhausting. I had my last two children at the ages of 40 and 43, so it is tiring. I’m also going through peri-menopause at the same time, which adds another dimension. She came into the world in a hurry unlike her older sister and brother, after only about 3 hours of labour. Before she was a born, I thought she was a boy for sure with the acrobatic moves she performed daily. She loves music and makes up songs all the time. Grace-ann will be starting piano lessons in a few weeks. She is quiet and shy when we are out in strange places and around people she doesn’t know, but when you get to know her or see her at home, she is the loudest one 🙂 Grace-ann, like our other children were/are, is not the sort to try something new or just jump right into something. It takes her time to be comfortable. That makes it hard for a mom who is more the opposite of my three kids in that respect. Maybe that’s why God gave me these particular children – to teach me patience. Sometimes, I’m a slow learner 🙂 She loves playing with her older brother and listening to him read stories to her.

    • Christine, so often God gives us children that are different from us to teach us and stretch us. Lean into the lessons Grace-ann is teaching you!

  12. Aaah my third. He is the first of three children sent by my mom from Heaven. I was 6 weeks pregnant with him when she died. He was the joyful end to an extremely tumultuous 1998. God gave him the personality to match wits with any struggles. And struggle he does. He is both blessed and cursed to have Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at 6 and at just a few days shy of 14 it has been a hard road.

    This child. He is the joy in any day. Even when he is struggling with ridiculous blood sugars that just don’t get that a child needs to be a child, he will find a way to brighten our days. He is the child that God shines on most in our family. There is no other way that he could move through life with diabetes and not be the perfect example of how God takes care of us daily.

  13. I forgot to say this in my earlier comments, but congratulations on the birth of your new grand daughter. I can understand how difficult it must be so far away from your kids at a time like this. I’ve prayed for all of you and looking forward to hearing about your first meeting with your new grand daughter.

  14. Hi Jill, congratulations on your new grand baby! It’s so good to see your family going forward after seeing Satan try to tear your marriage apart. God is good. All the time.

    My third child is Julia Grace. Again, I tell you her middle name because I believe that it is with much grace that I have made it through some of the things we’ve gone through with Julia. Who knew that choosing a middle name for our children can be so prophetic?!

    I got pregnant with Julia after going through a miscarriage that happened on Mother’s Day, 2003. I literally went through the hardest part of the miscarriage on Mother’s Day and the next day our doctor told us we had lost the baby. I have never been through something as traumatic to my body as that. Childbirth is nothing compared to the mental and physical trauma that miscarriage provides.
    Wow, as I write this with tears in my eyes, I realize again what an awesome testimony this is! Well, you can imagine the excitement that another new life brought. About five months into our pregnancy, the doctor told us that the baby might have a genetic disorder due to some findings on the ultrasound. The prognosis for survival was that she could either live five minutes after birth or have something like down syndrome. So, we prayed Psalm 139 over this child every night for about a month. I know that God healed her in my womb. Julia was born perfectly fine. I wish that were the end to our story.
    Ever since her birth, someone has tried to tell me that something is wrong with her. At nine months, they told us she wasn’t growing fast enough so we went for tests at Children’s Hospital every week until we just stopped because they weren’t finding anything. Nothing wrong.
    In kindergarten, she was struggling with learning so we thought something was wrong with her then. Nothing wrong.
    In second grade, she was having trouble focusing. We thought something was wrong with her. Nothing wrong.
    She is in third grade now and she is the happiest, most fun child I’ve ever been around. She makes life fun just being around her! I can’t wait to see what God does with her precious little life that everyone has tried to find something wrong with.
    As I end this, I have to tell you the most touching part of this story. Julia was born on May 12, 2004….Mother’s Day week. What Satan tries to steal from us, God gives us even more than we imagined. Praise God for these children and the ways they change our lives.

  15. My third child changed my life in ways that none of the others could. She was my only unexpected/unplanned pregnancy. I only started to think that I just *might* be pregnant when my running times were slowing despite my training, eating well and resting.

    She continued to surprise us as she arrived 24 minutes after we arrived at the hospital – the nurses thought they would be delivering her! She was such a happy baby – rarely cried, content and a perfect fit for our family.

    When she was 9 months old, I stepped out of the bathroom where she and her 3 1/2 year old brother were taking a bath. The splashed all over the floor and I need another towel to dry the floor. I can back and my sweet baby girl was face down in the bath water. A whirlwind 36 hour stay in the PICU and my thrid child donated her organs and moved to Heaven. Positively the WORST day of my life.

    But God is bigger. I’m not at all saying that it was easy or done in my time, but God has redeemed the hurt. Typing out her story, I sit with tears streaming down my face. She was absent from our First Day of School pictures this morning…but she was there in my heart. God has healed a big sore spot in my life and I couldn’t be more thankful. He used my daughter’s life and death to touch me in a way that nothing else could have. He healed my shame and showed me love in ways I never had felt love before. God is good. My daughter is healed and whole. A little boy on the east coast lives because of her donation and I could not be more grateful for the time I had her and the impact of that young life on my life.

    • Christy, I cried reading your story. I’m so sorry…I know the hurt is still there. However, I also know that God has been your Comforter. I don’t know what people who don’t have faith do in those dark, dark moments.

  16. My third child is the younger of the twins, Sarah. She is in 3rd grade and so much a great part of my life. She looks like me and wants to always be around me. Being that we are the only girls in the family of 5, we hang together more than than the boys. Since she was born, when the doctor took 2 minutes to pull her out because she refused to come out, she has been my third leg ever since. She prefers to hang around older mom types because she is always missing me. She is a joy to be around, she is fun and sweet! I look forward to the day when she is an adult and we can be friends!

  17. My 3rd is my last and only boy. His name is Addison and he is 8. He was a huge surprise in the delivery room since we were told 3 times he was going to be a she! I have never seen my husband so excited to head across the street to Target and buy baby clothes! He was the easiest baby out of our 3 until he hit the age of 2 and then watch out!!! Every parenting thing we told ourselves we would NEVER do we ended up trying. After many frustrating days and nights he calmed down to the sweetest little boy when he turned 6. He loves the Lord with all of his heart and is the first to offer prayer and compassion towards others. I am so thankful for the gift of a boy and I can’t wait to see what type of man he turns out to be.

  18. My third and last is our sweet Naomi Marie. She is 8 and quite the surprise….love how God does that. She is a very girly girl unlike her mommy which cracks all my friends up, but having two older brothers she can be pretty tough. She is artistic and is constantly creating cards and crafts….she loves Pinterest. I had her in my 30s, okay 39, and she keeps us all young.

  19. Well I can relate to a baby being born prematurely…our first was born 8 weeks early! Our third (and last) child is Kyra. She is 12 going on 30! She is our “don’t know if we want three kids, wow, I’m pregnant” child! But she is such a blessing! A favorite story to tell is one year she told me she didn’t want any Christmas presents if I would just find my old Jr. High and H.S. yearbooks for her to look at – well, I found them, and she still got Christmas presents 🙂 Even if you are a total stranger, she will want to know all about you (preferable thru your yearbooks). she love to know all about people – celebrities and us normal people. Loves to read about true stories – Holocaust victims, Underground railroad, etc. She is also a very talented musician…I think she will be a teacher one day. She doesn’t want to be a music teacher but is wondering how she can be a singer and a teacher…I’m sure as long as she pursues God in all of her decisions, He will show her the way!

  20. My third child, Caleb Joseph, is a boy, and he joined his two older brothers, Noah James and Jonah Matthew, on July 14, 1998. He is a middle child, as we had twin sons (Jesse Thomas and Isaac John) 20 months after Caleb was born. He is the only one of my five sons who was born without an epidural (ouch!), and was born less than six hours after I was induced. He had curly dark hair and beautiful eyes, and weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces (on 7/14…). He has always been such a special boy, very loving and compassionate. He had a lot of ear infections when he was younger and had tubes in his ears twice. The second time was because he failed the hearing test in Kindergarten. The family doctor didn’t believe anything was wrong, but he sent me to an ENT anyway. Fortunately, that doc knew what he was doing. One of the tubes had grown into his eardrum and had to be replaced, and Caleb had placed those little beads from a stuffed animal in his ear, and they had to be removed. Sneaky!
    Because of his glasses and curly hair, he has remained the object of bullying in both elementary and middle school. It has been heartbreaking watching him being hurt. I seriously don’t understand how parents don’t do something about their children when they are bullies, though I do understand that kids have a will of their own, too. Caleb is very excited to begin 9th grade this year because he is going to school with Noah and Jonah at the school where my husband teaches. He is feeling more confident than ever, and I’m grateful.
    He has a beautiful voice and has been in choir for several years. He was chosen for the men’s select choir because of his voice, and tried out for high school choir and was chosen. That’s very exciting for him and us!
    I am praying that this is the best school year ever for him, and that God will be more and more real to him every day. He has a lot of great characteristics, a fun personality, and a loving heart. I feel blessed to be his mother.

  21. Congratulations on your new granddaughter!

    After adopting our first two kids, we’re not in a season of waiting to see how God leads us to a birthmom for our (hopefully!) third child. We have our home study updated and have talked to an adoption attorney. At this point, we’ve just been telling about our desire to adopt again, hoping God will lead us to a birthmom, as He has done two times before. So, we’ll see how He grows our family when it’s time!

    I also enjoyed reading Erica’s blog today. Thanks for sharing that!

  22. My third is my son Mark, who is 6! Mark is my difficult child, was my hardest and most needy baby, and pushes my limits every day. Mark was born 1 year and 1 day after I lost my precious daddy to a heart attack in his sleep. My dad was there for me in his retirement to babysit, listen, play, give me 5 bucks, or just show up at my door because my 3 year old daughter called and asked him to come over. We decided to have number 3 because I was afraid if we waited too long I would never have the courage to do it. I had spent most of that year leading up to Mark’s birth angry and sad. I had lost my daddy, and some of myself. When I found out I was pregnant I went to my daddy’s grave and cried and told him. I know he wasn’t there; but, I know Jesus was, as I cried. My mom and the rest of the family just didn’t seem to understand. When I delivered Mark, I gave into the tears that said my dad would never get to hold him- and he loved babies. And with that start, the little postpartum blues I had with each of my babies felt overwhelming. Mark wouldn’t go to anyone as a baby, even crying if my husband held him. I spent part of each day crying, and praying over him as I nursed him to sleep. Praying that somehow I would learn to love this baby that was so hard. As a Labor and Delivery nurse you would think I could see the signs and get help for myself for my postpartum depression; but, that felt like admitting failure, and I couldn’t do it. Instead I would finally get to shower when my husband came home, and stand in there crying, because I could hear my baby screaming in the next room. I withdrew into myself, and prayed. I made it through those months, but how I cared for my 2 year old boy and kindergarten daughter at the time- I just don’t know its all a blur now. And then the next summer, a friend of mine invited me to the MOPS group that was held at my church. I always had an excuse for why I couldn’t go. But, that year I went and I have been an active member ever since. My friendships and time spent with those women saved me back then. I needed to know that ‘I am not alone’ in my motherhood journey. That same year I attended my first Hearts at Home conference and felt my spirit soar with confidence, and I encourage every mom I meet to go!
    I wonder now, if Mark wasn’t such a difficult baby because he could feel my sadness. If that told him he needed to stay close. I still miss my daddy, and it will be 7 years this November since he passed. My little Mark still loves to be close to me, competing with his 2 year old brother. Mark likes to watch TV, play with super heroes, and loves ALL things videogame! He wears his heart on his sleeve, and trusts in God with all his little heart. His smile could lite up the world. Mark’s birthday always reminds me to celebrate at a time that could be sad, for I know I will see my daddy again. His faith was always strong, and that is a trait I am proud to say has been passed on to my son!

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