Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jumpin' Jack

Jackson enjoyed his first experience in the Jolly Jumper that Grandma & Grandpa Blankenship picked up for him. He lived up to the name Jumpin' Jack, bouncing happily as he entertained the entire family at our early Christmas celebration.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Newsletter 2010

It’s hard to believe that it’s already time to send out another round of Christmas wishes and to share the highlights of a year that has nearly reached its close. 2010 has been an extraordinary year for us and if you haven’t seen the thousands of photos Jill has uploaded on Facebook, here’s the Cliff’s notes version of what’s been going on here in beautiful Edmonds, WA.

January started off with a big blue bang! We rang in the New Year wearing blue after our sonogram revealed that our bun in the oven was indeed a little boy. We were beyond excited.

In February, we took our “babymoon” trip to Leavenworth where we again stayed in our favorite bed & breakfast, The Abendblume. Fresh snowfall made the weekend especially romantic and magical, allowing us to go on a snowshoe hike. Jill’s sister Julie also came out for a visit in February and we had fun acting as tour guides on her first trip to our new home.

We celebrated Jill’s 29th birthday in March and then took a trip to Florida to further celebrate the anticipation of our son. Jill’s Mom and Julie threw the ultimate baby shower at friend Reidi Lott’s home and our little boy was duly spoiled with 4 suitcases full of the cutest baby boy merchandise on the market.

April was a busy month with last minute preparation for our son’s arrival. We spent a lot of time pouring over owner’s manuals in assembling the crib, changing table, dresser, and other baby paraphernalia. When we weren’t busy building things, we were busy traveling. Along with our friend Thanh, we took a road trip to the Tri-Cities and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for a weekend of golfing for the guys and maternity massage for Jill (who really enjoyed being able to lay on her stomach for the first time in months). Next we took a trip with our Mars Hill Church home group to beautiful Cama Beach, WA where we slowed our pace long enough to enjoy the gorgeous view from the front porch of our cabin. We saw seals and watched whales sound just a few hundred yards away. We hiked, biked, threw horseshoes, and ate s’mores. It was a restful time with our church family.

May was the pinnacle month of the year. In God’s perfect timing, after a year’s worth of resumes and prayers, Dan was blessed with an Industrial Engineering job at Boeing which would soon allow Jill to quit her job and become a stay-at-home mom. Three more amazing baby showers further spoiled our unborn son and the waiting game began as he was due to arrive any day. Jill’s parents flew in from Florida to wait with us for their first grandson to appear on the scene. Finally, after 72 hours of pre-labor and 14 hours of active labor, Jill’s natural childbirth experience culminated in an emergency cesarean and Jackson Cole made his grand entrance weighing in at 7 lbs., 12 oz., 20 in. on May 26th. Jackson immediately lived up to his name as “God’s gracious gift” to our family. We were instantly in love.

June brought Aunt Julie out to WA to meet her first nephew. We didn’t waste any time before taking Jackson on his first adventures. Before the month was over, he’d been picnicking in Eastern Washington and strawberry picking in the Skagit Valley. As Spring gave way to summer, BBQ’s and walks with Jackson to the beach became routine. Dan began volunteering as a leader for the junior high boys at Proxy, a Mars Hill Church ministry.

More adventures unfolded in July when we resumed hiking, now as a family of three. We took a day trip to Port Townsend to enjoy the sunshine and wander Fort Worden with our friend Bethany.

August included a Blankenship Family reunion at cousins Erik & Sue’s cabin in Skykomish, a private tour of the USS Green Bay docked in Seattle where Jackson got to take a seat in the Captain’s chair, and a gorgeous, sunny Mt. Rainier hike with our friends The Rikalos. Jackson also became a world traveler that month when we crossed the border into Canada to picnic with Jill’s cousin Heather whose cruise ship was docked there for the day. And it wouldn’t have been summer without a trip to the Evergreen State Fair where we spent the day eating elephant ears, petting bunnies, and marveling at over-sized gourds along with our home group.

September took us to Montana where we spent Labor Day weekend with friends George & Susie on their family cattle ranch and enjoyed a rugged weekend of shooting, 4-wheeling, ghost towns, coal kilns, and s’mores. We welcomed Fall in the Pacific Northwest with all of its hues of red, orange, and yellow and Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes. A trip to the pumpkin patch ultimately resulted in posing smiley Jackson inside of a carved pumpkin. He enjoyed squishing pumpkin goo between his toes.

October was a blur of activity. Dan came back from his annual hunting trip in Eastern Washington just in time to give Jill instructions to go to the airport to pick up her surprise guest, lifelong friend Shannon! We spent the next five days acquainting her with Jackson and the Northwest with a day at the local corn maze, a Rainier hike, a ferry ride to Kingston, a stroll through Pike Place Market, and a trip to see fall foliage in Leavenworth. Our next visitor was Mom Tyckoson who spent 2 weeks with us and joined us for Jackson’s first Halloween where we dressed him up like a tiger and took him trick-or-treating in downtown Edmonds.

Mom ushered in November with us and babysat while we celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. Dan’s 35th birthday was celebrated a few days later. November also brought our first snowfall to Edmonds and Jackson seemed to enjoy it even though his snowsuit left him immobile just like the kid in A Christmas Story. We celebrated Thanksgiving with the Blankenship family and Julie, who flew in to celebrate Jackson’s 6 month birthday and do a little snow shoeing with us.

December has already been a blur of Christmas events, sweet treats and traditions. We once again hiked up into the snow-covered mountains to cut down our own Christmas tree which has already fallen over twice but nonetheless is a source of endless wonder for little Jackson who is now starting to crawl and say MaMa and Dada. We just returned from another trip to Canada, this time to ski at Whistler with Mom & Dad Blankenship, Rob & Beth and friends. This Christmas we’ll celebrate with the Blankenships here in WA before we fly to Orlando to celebrate Jesus’ birth and ring in the New Year with Jill’s family and introduce Jackson to his sunshine state fan club.

God has shown Himself faithful to us throughout all of 2010 and we look forward to seeing what He has in store in 2011. We pray that you are filled with the joy and peace of Christ this Christmas season and in the new year ahead. We love you and thank God for your presence in our lives.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Jackson is still working on his crawling moves. Tonight he figured out how much fun it can be spinning in circles by the Christmas tree. He was spinning for a good ten minutes before I got out the video camera to try to get a few circles on record. Of course, the camera was a distraction but he didn't disappoint. Don't get dizzy watching....

Friday, December 3, 2010

crawling practice

Jackson has been working on hard on figuring out this whole crawling thing before Christmas. (I guess he wants to impress everyone in Florida with his moves.) So far though he keeps running into the problem of crawling backwards instead of forward.

Still working on it...

And eventually he just got completely frustrated with himself as usual.

We love our backwards crawler!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We decided to wait until the six month mark to start Jackson on solid foods. As November 26th approached, Jackson became more and more interested in the food he saw on everyone else's forks. Finally the big day came and since it was so close to Thanksgiving, I decided to make Jackson sweet potatoes. He was a little unsure of them on his first go around...

And here we are trying again to convince Jackson that sweet potatoes aren't the most disgusting things on the planet. This time Aunt Julie gave it a whirl...

Friday, November 19, 2010

rolling over

Jackson seems to think that he can only roll in one direction. Here we are trying to prove to him that he can roll both directions. The question is - why do we do these things late at night when he's completely exhausted?

When he's not rolling over, Jackson spends most of his time these days doing his daily regimen of Crawling Preparation Exercises. He's developed his own unique routine of "swimming" and "push-ups" moves that are sure to build up all those crawling muscles in no time.

(side note: when we say "Moosen" we're referring to the plural of Moose per comedian Brian Reagan. if you don't know what we're talking about, look it up on youtube and you'll be cracking up just like we did.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

on the phone with Grandma

Here's Jackson on the phone with you, Grandma. This blogpost is just for you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Smell Fall

I've been anticipating the first day of Fall for a few weeks now. As much as I love summer in Washington, there's just something special about the change in the air when Fall comes. I love the vibrant colors of the leaves, the crispness of the air, the scents of pumpkin pie and spices, the corn mazes, hayrides, and the bouquets of newly sharpened pencils. Okay, so maybe I've just watched You've Got Mail too many times because I couldn't care less about pencils but all the other things I said are true.

In true Fall tradition, I invited my girlfriends and their little ones to join me for what I affectionately like to call "Pumpkin Day." In honor of the first day of Fall, I dressed Jackson in his little pumpkin outfit from Grandma Tyckoson. We met up with the rest of the crew and headed to Starbucks for our first Pumpkin Spice Lattes of the season. It was so worth the wait! And mine was free, thanks to my Starbucks rewards card. (A healthy coffee addiction does have some perks at least.)Next stop was Swans Trail Farm in nearby, rural Snohomish. The idea was to pick out a pumpkin from their pumpkin patch but we were a little too early. The farm doesn't open officially to the public until next week for hayrides, corn maze fun, and seasonal plenty. Their pumpkins are still a little green this week and have yet to be cut from their vines. Whoops.
Thankfully, the farm crew had pity on us and let us hang out for awhile. It was the perfect day to hang out on the farm. Blue skies, warm sunshine, and a cool breeze were God's gift to us all. The kids had a blast playing in the puddles, throwing pebbles (well until we saw the "please leave rocks in place" sign...oops!), and running in the muddy field.Next stop for Jackson and me was the grocery store for a pumpkin since we'd had no luck at the farm. Jackson of course got to pick out a tiny pumpkin of his own. He seems pretty fond of it.
That evening we enjoyed yummy pumpkin spice cupcakes at our women's Bible study, thanks to Martha Stewart's magical recipe. They were "a good thing."
Yep, I smell Fall!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

summer is slippin' away

The summer is quickly coming to an end and it's hard to believe that Fall is just a few short days away. We've definitely had an eventful summer here at the Blankenship household. Even with a brand new baby on the scene, we were determined not to miss out on all of the gorgeous weather Washington offers during this beautiful season.
We've enjoyed BBQ dinners, days at the park or waterfront with friends, and all of the usual summer traditions including time at the beach.
We finished off July with a picnic dinner a ferry ride away in Kingston with our home group from church. With our growing posse of kids in tow, we drew quite a bit of attention from the other park patrons. With 12 kids (9 pictured) and 2 more on the way, our group is growing at record pace. Here's the 2010 baby line-up. (Of course Jackson is the one with the short sleeves and sun tan.)It was a beautiful evening and our ferry ride home featured an unbelievable sunset.
August included a Blankenship family reunion at cousins Erik & Sue's cabin in Skykomish. The entire family wasn't able to make it, but there were quite a few of us there to represent and we enjoyed some food, fishing, and fellowship by the river.
We got the hook ups through a friend to go on a tour of a Navy battleship that was visiting the Seattle harbor. Jackson's first military exposure was on board the USS Green Bay and he enjoyed his time in the captain's chair.The beautiful weather of course allowed for plenty of golf for Dan. Jackson and I joined him for an evening of golf at Dupont's Home Course (my favorite because of its view of Rainier). Jackson wore his "Daddy's Caddy" outfit for the special occasion.Here's some video from the course.

We also managed to make a quick day trip to Canada for Jackson's first international experience. We met up with my cousin Heather who works for a cruise line that was docked in Vancouver for the day. Since we only had a few hours with Heather, we took her to Stanley Park for a picnic. It was Jackson's first time meeting his cousin and she won his heart with some very special Alaskan toys and her beautiful smile.Also in August, our friend Ashley came for a visit from Florida and we were able to meet up with her and visit the downtown location of our church, Mars Hill. Ashley and I did a year-long online Bible study with friends Keri in Atlanta and Melissa in Ireland. Keri and her husband were also visiting Seattle and it was my first time to meet her in person so that was a real treat!We were blessed through Dan's work with tickets to the Boeing Classic and took Mom & Dad Blankenship with us to walk the beautiful course and hob-nob with the pros. Jackson attracted more than a few golfer's attention on his 3 month birthday.
Of course the summer would be incomplete without a visit to the Evergreen State Fair. We went in search of prize-winning poultry, greasy fair food, and dizzying rides along with friends from our home group.

Another highlight of the summer was that we left Jackson with a babysitter for the first time since he was born. The best part was that his babysitter was Bethany Greene, who I used to babysit as a kid in Orlando. Thanks to sweet Bethany, Dan and I were able to enjoy a care-free evening as our friends Dustin and Lisa were married in a beautiful lakeside ceremony in Bellevue. Meanwhile, Jackson enjoyed playing and watching Madagascar with Bethany.Also noteworthy this summer was the Sunday that we dedicated Jackson at church. Dan and I were able to dedicate him alongside his buddies Gabriel and Savannah from our home group.
Here he is all dressed up for his dedication.
We're sad to say goodbye to iced tea and suntan weather, but are looking forward to the brisk Fall air and the pumpkin patches, vibrant fall leaves, and corn mazes in the season ahead of us. I'm waiting for that first official day of Fall to get my pumpkin spice latte!