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.