Monday, October 5, 2009

Ushering in Autumn

Well, we never mean to go as long as we do in between posts, but as you can imagine, life at the Blankenship household has been anything but standard in terms of schedules and free time, especially in the first few months of my residency. Well, here is an update on our family since our last post, as well as some pics.  I just finished working on the general surgery service, which means I had to wake up by 3:15 AM just to get to the hospital in time for the day, and of course days that I am on call are even worse since I routinely work 30+ hour shifts on those days, no matter what service I am on, with very few exceptions.  That makes for one tired Mommy and wife who just wants to love on her family and pretend she doesn't have a career.  My schedule will be somewhat better this month, and you better believe that if you see me outside of the hospital, I will be clinging to my baby with my husband close by.

We were able to go out onto the lake with my family a couple of times in August/Sept., so Karis was introduced to the boating/lake experience for the first time.  Although, Jared and I actually went out boating on the day I told him I was pregnant, so if you count that,  it was technically not her first experience-  we start them early in my family :)  It ended up being a bit chilly on our second trip to the lake, so we pretty much kept Karis wrapped up in a beach towel most of the time.  She did however love the way it felt for the breeze to blow through her "hair."  Jared and Kevin (our bro-in-law) got some tubing in, despite the cool water that day.




On October 2, Jared and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Jared's sister, Jenna, watched Karis while Jared and I went out on a much needed date. We enjoyed dinner at Hennen's in downtown Chattanooga, and then strolled over to a outdoor bluegrass concert next to the river. We can't believe it's been 5 years unless we picture all of the things we've done and places we've been since we were married. From Clarksville to Philly to Chattanooga. And then there's that little spunky bundle of joy...

[caption id="attachment_260" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="5th Anniv. overlooking downtown Chatty"]5th Anniv. overlooking downtown Chatty[/caption]

Karis will be 9 months old next week.  She started eating baby food a couple of months ago, and has established a few favorites.  For the past few weeks, her top few picks are bananas (understandable), green beans (which have very little flavor but taste like raw green beans), squash (as of this week), and one of her steady favs, sweet potatoes.  IMG_1573

Karis brings us a lot of joy and laughter every day. She has earned the nickname "turbo roller" since she immediately starts turbo rolling as soon as you lay her down anywhere, including her changing table. She will flash her 2-toothed smile at anyone who will pay attention to her, and loves to hear the range of her own voice. Here are some pics of everyday life with our baby over the last couple of months:

[caption id="attachment_268" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Giving her butterfly a piggyback ride. Still not sure how this happened..."]Giving her butterfly a piggyback ride.  Still not sure how this happened...[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_273" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Bath time at BB and Bop's house"]Bath time at BB and Bop's house[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_277" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Karis fell asleep sitting up in my lap"]Karis fell asleep sitting up in my lap[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_279" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="Went for a jog with Mommy- this is where her blanket ended up"]Went for a jog with Mommy- this is where her blanket ended up[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_280" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Time with Daddy"]Time with Daddy[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_281" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="K without a diaper post bath- Mommy living on the edge!"]K without a diaper post bath- Mommy living on the edge![/caption]


Monday, July 27, 2009

Hit the ground running

It is very fitting that Holly's sport of choice in high school was cross country because her life has paralleled that sport in many way.  Let me explain.  One reason why Holly like cross country is that course is more than just going in a circle around a track and that each course she ran on was different.  A cross country runner has to be ready to deal with inclines, declines, smooth ground, rocky ground, sink holes, trees and many people trying to fit on a path whose waist line grows or shrinks at the drop of the hat.  Needless to say, it's unpredictable and challenging to participate in and master.  As we close out Holly's first month as a resident I feel that Holly has finished her first cross country course (med school) and is now beginning her second course (residency).  Of course she started off with one of the most difficult rotations, in patient pediatrics, and it has been a trying a long month for the both of us.  Holly has been working 12-16 hour days and has had a few days of call (30 hours straight).  She usually leaves the house around 5:30 AM and gets home around 7 PM.  As you can imagine she is pretty exhausted when she gets home and treasures the few hours that she has with Karis and I.  Luckily we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with this rotation.  She actually has a day off this week (not too many of those so far) and we will be leaving spend the weekend with her family since she will be free on Saturday and Sunday.  Let's hope that our time with family, especially the few hours on the lake that we will have, will be refreshing and relaxing for the both of us.

As for Karis, she is developing well.  She loves to get on all fours and look around.  It won't be long until she starts to crawl.  She is talking more than ever and uses the full scope of her range while doing so.  She has also begun to notice her hands and will stare at them while open and closing her fingers.  Lastly, we are starting the process of introducing solid foods.  The first week that I started rice cereal with her, she would look at me like I was playing a prank on her.  Her facial expression was priceless.  She also would choke on the cereal and get really mad at the whole situation.  So we gave her a week off and I am proud to announce that she ate about 8 spoonfuls of cereal for me tonight.  She is growing up like crazy.  I'll try to post some pics from the lake next week.

Monday, July 13, 2009

6 months

It's kind of hard to believe but Karis turned 6 months old last week.  Holly and I can't believe how much time has flown by and how much Karis has changed.  I had the pleasure of taking Karis to her 6 month check up at her new pediatrician last Monday.  I am happy to report that she weighed in at 13 lbs and 1 oz.  She has come a long way from the 3 lbs 14 oz that she was at birth!

On top of her weight gain, Karis is becoming much more interactive.  She loves to smile, especially when she recognizes you.  She flashes this big grin and usually brings her two hands together and buries her face in them.  It is really cute.  She is also talking quite a bit.  She has discovered the full scope of her range and exercises it frequently.  Her upper range sounds just like a dolphin call.  She has begun to reach and grasp onto things which of course go straight to the mouth.  Karis has also becoming proficient at flipping over.  She can easily flip from front to back and has on occasion gone from back to front, mostly when she is after something.  Lastly, because I can't think of anything else though I am probably forgetting something, Karis has become a big giggler.  She has certain tickle spots that trigger a string of belly laughs/giggles.  Of course mommy and daddy love to torture Karis by kissing there quite frequently.

Tonight we are starting to add rice cereal to her diet which is the first step towards solid foods.  We anticipate that she will start teething pretty soon and we have noticed that she is getting stronger when we try to help her sit upright.  Before too long she will be crawling and ruling our household.

Below are a few updated pictures from her actual 6 month birthday and the photo shoot that we did a week before.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

The month of June

So we have been a bit tardy in doing a blog post.  We do offer our most sincere apologies to the few loyal readers that we have.  In our attempt to make up for it we'll do 2 posts to cover the month of June and so far in July.  Hopefully I won't forget anything!  If I do I'm sure Holly will offer the corrections.

The end of May was mostly a big emotional roller coaster.  We celebrated the end of medical school and the long awaited graduation for Holly.  It signified the end of a fun but very stressful four year period in our lives together.  Holly's family came in for the weekend to be a part of the many festivities.

The other part of our roller coaster of emotions was wrapped up in having to say goodbye to the many friends that we had made during our time in the Philly area.  Over the course of a weekend we had a graduation formal for Holly's school, a graduation party for Holly with some of our closet friends and my last evening with the best youth group in the world.  We shared many laughs, shed a few tears and got to pray one last time with dear friends.  We will (and are) miss many of the people that we shared life with the past four years.

The next week we officially moved into our new place in Chattanooga.  I must say, we have really taken a huge leap up from our drab apartment in King of Prussia.  Holly and I have said many times to each other that we almost feel like we're in a dream and that at some point we are going to wake up and find ourselves back in Kingswood.  We spent the next few weeks unpacking boxes and trying to get settled into our new place.  Though we are still not finished it is coming slowly but surely.  God has surely blessed us with a great place to live and we are enjoying it very much.

The month of June also contained a few trips to Murfreesboro for various events with Holly's family.  Our nephew Andrew turned 2 and so we attended his construction themed party.  The following weekend Holly's cousin Ashley had a birthday party for her son that turned 1.  This party was a pool theme as well as Mickey Mouse.  The next weekend was father's day which we celebrated with Holly's parents and her sister and brother in law.  The last weekend we had another graduation party with Holly's extended family and some of our friends that are in the middle TN area.  All in all we had a great time relaxing and trying not to think about the big change that would occur when Holly officially started residency in July.  Below are a few pics from our various parties.


I will do a follow up post on Karis, who is now 6 months old, next so stay tuned.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stay Tuned...

Just wanted to let all of you know that we have had a very hectic past few weeks, from moving to graduation to birthday parties, etc..  We will post new photos and updates as soon as we can get out from under all of these boxes!  Stay tuned-- lots of updates on the way!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Mother's Bliss

Last Sunday we celebrated my first Mother's Day.  Although it has been a beautiful experience, I still stumble over hearing myself or someone else refer to me as a mom.  I guess after so many years of thinking of yourself as "the kid," it is difficult to make the transition in your way of thinking overnight, even though the transition basically takes place overnight.  

After church that Sunday, Jared, Karis and I got into some more comfy clothes and then headed out to Valley Forge National Park for a picnic.  Valley Forge Park is only a few miles from where we live, and it has been a peaceful place for me to escape to occasionally throughout these past 4 years in med school whether I go there to run off stress, get fresh air, to get away from the noise of the city, or to take long walks with friends and catch up on each other's life.  It seemed appropriate at the closing of these last 4 years of our time here in Philly to have our first picnic as a 3-person family in that setting.  Here are some pics taken that day, including some taken in Valley Forge Park

[caption id="attachment_187" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Decked out!"]Decked out![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_189" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Mmmm Sugar!"]Mmmm Sugar![/caption]



[caption id="attachment_191" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis' First Picnic"]Karis' First Picnic[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_192" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis' First Picnic"]Karis' First Picnic[/caption]


from our camera which was mounted on Karis' stroller- not too shabby!






[caption id="attachment_185" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Mother's Day Morning"]Mother's Day Morning[/caption]

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This past week, Jared, Karis and I traveled back home to Tennessee to see family and to look for housing in Chattanooga where we will be moving for my medical residency starting in June.  This was also Karis' first trip to TN, even though she is genetically southern :)  Karis basically slept during the entire airport/plane experience to Nashville and then again to Philly at the end of the week.  As soon as we made it to the baggage claim in the Nashville Airport, she was whisked away by "BB and Bop" (my parents).  We then made a dinner stop at the home of Aunt Lo, Uncle Kev, Cousin Andrew, and Ginger the dog.  This was the first time Andrew (almost 2 years old) got to meet Karis.  We assumed at his age there would be jealousy since he is not used to sharing attention within our immediate family, but he surprised us!  The family has been talking to him about his new cousin and showing him pictures since she has been born.  When he finally me her that night, he would just look at her, gently touch her and giggle.  It was no time before he was pointing to his lap and saying "Andu's lap!  Andu's lap!"  He not only wanted to hold her, but he wanted to show her his toys, and anytime he went outside last week, he wanted "Livy" to go with him.  (When I was pregnant with Karis, Andrew had trouble pronouncing Karis, so when we got him to say her middle name Olivia, he said "Livy" and it just stuck.)    

Karis was also able to spend time with some of my extended family too, some she had already met and others she got to meet for the first time.  In other words, there was a lot of cuddling and no shortage of kisses!  In fact, in addition to visits from Aunt Pam, her kids, and Gome, we were able to go to my Uncle Ted and Aunt Marina's house to share their family night with them, feasting on BBQ and smoked chicken from the Slick Pig (which I always think is called the Stuck Pig, but I guess Slick Pig is ever so slightly more appetizing).  All four of the "first litter" girls were there along with all four of our babies.  Seems like yesterday when we four girls were the ones playing house, and now we live it every day...only Ashley is not Kelly Kapowski like she ALWAYS was when we played house!  Those were the days, huh, Ash?

Jared and I met with our realtor Tuesday morning to start looking at houses after several weeks of narrowing things down online.  We saw several houses in the Chattanooga area, but ended up loving the very first one we saw which seemed to meet all of our preferences.  By lunchtime of that first day, we had given our realtor the go ahead to start making negotiations with the builder.  We left Chattanooga that day with a new address... mission accomplished!  

For more pics of our new place, use this link


[caption id="attachment_171" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis remembers her "Auntsin Lynz""]Karis remembers her "Auntsin Lynz"[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_172" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Karis cuddling with Aunt Pammy"]Karis cuddling with Aunt Pammy[/caption]



[caption id="attachment_162" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Bonding with Bop at 6 AM"]Bonding with Bop at 6 AM[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_163" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Karis loves sleeping against BB's fleece PJs- she thinks she's still in bed!"]Karis loves sleeping against BB's fleece PJs- she thinks she's still in bed![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_164" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Andrew with his Livy"]Andrew with his Livy[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_165" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Andrew reminiscent of his bouncer days"]Andrew reminiscent of his bouncer days[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_166" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Our new house!"]Our new house![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_167" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Back view"]Back view[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_168" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis meets "Auntsin Ash""]Karis meets "Auntsin Ash"[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_169" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Ethan and Eli's Papa Ted = Jungle gym"]Ethan and Eli's Papa Ted = Jungle gym[/caption]

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gettin' Up There

This past weekend was a busy one for the Blankenship family.  Jared's parents, sister and brother-in-law came to Philadelphia to see Karis and attend her dedication on Sunday and to celebrate Jared's 30th birthday on Saturday.  Jared's big birthday warranted more than just a quiet evening with family.  On Saturday, we surprised him with a party at the home of good friends and about 25 guests.  The decor was that of a Phillies baseball motif, red and blue, but because I had a very hard time finding Phillies decor, our featured decor was Karis in a Chase Utley tshirt someone had gotten for her at a baby shower...or should I say, gotten for Jared :)  There were balloons, a cookie cake (white chocolate chip macadamia nut) from Mrs. Fields, and some of Jared's favorite drinks and side dishes that friends brought to go along with the good ole fashioned burgers and dogs.  It was special to have his family there for his birthday, which has not happened in quite some time due to distance.  Another highlight was that our friend, Stephen, who moved with his family to Angola, Africa for mission work had flown into Philly a couple of hours before (on business) was able to surprise Jared at his party, despite his jet lag state.  In addition to this surprise, the teens at our church were able to celebrate Jared's birthday Sunday evening with homemade desserts and a humorous artist's (Terri McKay) rendering of Jared as a baby (but with his adult face and facial hair intact), which the teens are signing as a birthday card of sorts.  Much better than Hallmark!

Also this past Sunday, Karis was dedicated by our dear friend Doug, co-youth pastor with Jared (but more like his brother).   Jared also had the privilege of dedicating both of Doug's children last year.  We probably would have waited until a little bit later to have the dedication, but considering our upcoming move, we decided to do it sooner so Doug could do the honors.  Karis did so well and apparently won the hearts of the audience with her little white dress and bare feet hanging out while relaxing in her Daddy's arms.  It was a special day, and a memorable weekend!

[caption id="attachment_143" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis' Dedication Day"]Karis' Dedication Day[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_144" align="alignright" width="300" caption="J's bday cookie cake, requested about 8 months ago!"]J's bday cookie cake, requested about 8 months ago![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_145" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis in Phillies shirt, pooped out at Daddy's party"]Karis in Phillies shirt, pooped out at Daddy's party[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_146" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis' Dedication by Pastor Doug Moister"]Karis' Dedication by Pastor Doug Moister[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_147" align="alignright" width="199" caption="The Blankenship 3"]The Blankenship 3[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_148" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Visit from Jared's Fam"]Visit from Jared's Fam[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_150" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Baby Love"]Baby Love[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_151" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Grammy and Daddy B, ready to spoil"]Grammy and Daddy B, ready to spoil[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_152" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Aunt Jenna and Uncle Luke with Karis"]Aunt Jenna and Uncle Luke with Karis[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_153" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Cute Factor"]Cute Factor[/caption]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Down Home

[caption id="attachment_133" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Blankenship Family- March"]Blankenship Family- March[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_136" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis 14 weeks old"]Karis 14 weeks old[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_137" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Karis Chilling out in her new Pack N' Play- 14 weeks"]Karis Chilling out in her new Pack N' Play- 14 weeks[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_138" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Morning nap- 13 weeks"]Morning nap- 13 weeks[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_135" align="alignright" width="225" caption="Blankenship Family- March"]Blankenship Family- March[/caption]

As most of you know, things have been busy in the Blankenship household for many reasons.  First of all, Karis is now almost 15 weeks old (would have been 7 weeks by due date) and is changing more and more every day.  She now weighs over 8 1/2 pounds, which is surprising considering how much energy she spends moving all four limbs when she is awake and sometimes asleep.  When we lay her on her back or in her bouncer she looks like a battery operated doll.  A few weeks ago she started smiling responsively and finally not just as a result of gas.  I used to be somewhat annoyed when people went overboard with the babytalk just to get a response out of a baby, but I'll be the first to admit that I am constantly talking in a high pitched voice and will repeat the same ridiculous phrases over and over if it gets a response.  Her Daddy is not much better!  She loves the song "Butterfly in the Sky" (old school Reading Rainbow) and the sound of the letter B.  Her most animated responses are, of course, around 3:00 in the morning.  




A major event on our horizon is that we are moving to Chattanooga, TN the first week of June where I have been accepted to the Erlanger Hospital Family Medicine Residency program.  We originally moved to Philadelphia for me to attend medical school, and at the time were just hoping that Jared could find a job that was remotely related to his passion for ministry and teaching.  We often joked in our uncertainty that Home Depot was calling his name, but as a detailed answer to prayer, Jared was hired at Fairview Village Church as one of two full-time youth pastors.  While serving at Fairview, Jared has been able to use his musical talents in both the youth group worship as well as "big church."  He has also been able to practice his passion for teaching in the youth group setting, in "big church," and has also taught courses such as "Systematic Theology" for ordination candidates in our church district.  In relocating to Philly for pursuit of my medical career, I was afraid that Jared would have to settle for a job that was unrelated to his interests, despite his selflessness and willingness to follow me several states away to pursue my career plans.  Instead, God blessed him (and in turn, us) with a very fulfilling role that encompassed all of his passions and talents and offered us an environment of friendship and support in the absence of our family.  Now after 4 years in Philly, a couple of degrees and a baby later, we are returning "down home" to continue our journey closer to family.  Jared and I are so thankful for our experience in Philly and the countless meaningful relationships that have been formed as a result.  We are not leaving those relationships behind, but rather we are taking them with us as they have helped formed who we are.  Leaving Philly will be bittersweet, but we trust that God will direct us in our transition back to Tennessee just as he did over the past several years here in PA.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Jared forgot to mention that even though Karis was asleep during the whole service, she let out 2 sturdy consecutive burps during the closing prayer when everything else was quiet, which gave me one more reason to laugh at an inappropriate I need more of those!

A few firsts for Karis

So this weekend Holly and I took Karis on a mini road trip to Babies R Us.  I wish I could tell you that Karis loved seeing all of the baby things there, but she slept the whole time.  She really loves being in the car seat, especially when it is moving.  Another first is that we took Karis to church on Sunday.  She met a ton of new people and once again slept through the whole thing.  I did feed her during a part of the message but then she went back to sleep.  Lastly, Karis slept 6 straight hours last night.  We only hope that this wasn't a single occurrence!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the life of Karis

Once again, sorry we haven't posted in some time.  As you can imagine things are pretty busy/crazy around here.  Karis is doing really well.  She has already outgrown most of her preemie outfits, which is a good thing.  Right now she is about twice her birth weight and going strong.  She has started to stay up longer in some stretches, but still likes to sleep a ton which is totally normal.

One really cool development that we've been noticing is that Karis is starting to look in the general direction of sounds and trying to focus on where they come from.  A couple of days ago when I got home from work, I bent down to talk to Karis while she was in the swing.  When I started talking she turned toward me and flashed this huge smile and it melted my heart.

Here is a link to some updated pics of Karis.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

the life of Karis

Ok, so we haven't posted much lately.  Sorry for that.  I've been waiting for Holly to post something about the whole birth event, but she hasn't had any time.  If you are interested I talked about it here on my personal blog.  This is by no means the whole account and some of the timetable might be out of order.  (Give me a break, I typed it a few days after the whole ordeal was over.)

Anyways, I wanted to start this little update on Karis that we'll try to post from time to time.  We will try to let you in on her little milestones and such.  But I first want to play a little game called, "What is Karis really thinking?"  Even at 5 weeks old, Karis has quite a bit of personality through various looks that she gives us.  I will describe a few events and the look on Karis' face and what I think she is really thinking.  Hopefully you'll get a kick out of it.

Scenario #1:  Holly and I were putting a preemie gown on Karis that my parents bought for her.  The only problem is that her head is a bit big for said outfit and Holly and I had different philosophies on how to put the outfit on.  In the process of Holly and I trying to figure out the best way, the outfit rested over Karis' shoulders and she let out a cry.  When we finally got her head through, she shot this hilarious look at me that I interpreted as, "Would you two figure out what the heck you are trying to do and just put this on me already!!!!"

Scenario #2:  One of my favorite things to do to Karis is to kiss all over her face and neck while I'm on the way to change her and start her feeding.  Of course this is usually about the time that Karis is uncomfortable from and dirty diaper and an empty stomach.  While in the process of this, Karis usually looks right at me with a look that I interpret as, "Stop it, Stop it, STOP IT!!!!!!!! And get on with the bottle already."

That's it for now, I'll try to post some more stories later.

If you are looking for pics of Karis they are on facebook.  Here is a link to a few of the albums.

Karis is home

Coming home

Karis 3 weeks


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Birth announcement

Today at 10:01 AM our daughter Karis Olivia Blankenship was born via c-section at roughly 32 weeks old.  We will report more later on the ordeal but I wanted to let you know that both mom and baby are doing well.  Karis weighed 3 lbs 14 oz and measured 17 1/4" long.  The doctors are telling us that she is developmentally further along than she should be which means that they are not having to do a whole lot to help her breathe, etc.  She will be in the NICU for at least 3-4 weeks as she continues to develop and be closely monitored.  She is so beautiful and precious and we will be posting some pics soon, I promise.

Mom is doing well too.  As I am typing this she is sleeping soundly for the first time since Friday night.  Hopefully I will do the same tonight.  Thanks to the many that prayed for us as they found out.  Sorry to those of you who have found out unexpectedly, just know that things were crazy and we wanted to keep communication to a minimum.  We would appreciate your continued prayers for mom and Karis as mom heals and Karis continues to grow.  Dad is doing well.  He is very relieved that this crazy journey is finally over and is now trying to get used to fact that he is a father.