This article can also be found in the September 2018 issue of Mercer Island Living Magazine.
Family and community has always been of utmost importance to the Blumenstein family. Although the kids, Julia, Ryan and Grant, are all grown and off on their own adventures, they still regularly make time for the family. “All three kids live in Seattle, but family is always at the center of their lives,” said Jami Blumenstein, their mom.
Jami has deep roots on Mercer Island and has lived there for most of her life, excluding her college years in California. Back when she and husband Rodney began seriously dating, they decided that Mercer Island would be the perfect place for them to start a family.
The two of them met while Jami, a college student at the time, was on vacation with her dad at a resort in Palm Springs. Rodney, who is originally from New York, was also there on a business trip.
“We met while both floating on rafts in the resort pool,” said Jami. “I like to tease Rodney that he paddled over toward me.” Although the two seemed to hit it off from the get-go, it would be several years before they would begin seriously dating. “We were in very different stages of life at the time,” Jami said.
As if by some sort of divine persuasion, they ran into each other once again several years later at the Beach and LA Sports Club and subsequently started dating. They were married in 1988 and moved up to the Pacific Northwest not long after to begin their lives together.
Nowadays their kids all live in Seattle, although Julia is currently home on Mercer island for summer break.
Julia, 21, will be starting her senior year at the University of Washington this fall and plans to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a degree in psychology. Once a dedicated basketball player, she hung up her jersey to more seriously pursue a career in psychology. She played for the University of Puget Sound before transferring to the UW.
Ryan, 25, graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in business. He moved to San Francisco for a job opportunity shortly after but is now back in the Pacific Northwest working in the South Lake Union area. During his senior year at Mercer Island High School, he was the captain of the lacrosse team and lead the team to a state championship.
Grant, 27, graduated from the UW with a degree in finance and currently works for Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in sales, while also pursuing some entrepreneurial endeavors. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano, playing basketball or being out on the water with friends.
Rodney started his own business back in the early 1980s called Rod Asher & Associates, which serves as a recruiting firm in the high-tech industry. He continues to own and operate the business, which he relocated to Mercer Island.
Jami owned a modelling agency called Kid Biz Talent Agency, located in Bellevue. The agency promoted children, ages six months to 16 years, in local and national television, films and print ads. “It was really successful and kind of took off,” she said.
But above all, Jami has her priorities set on her three kids. She eventually sold the modelling agency to focus on parenting. “My favorite job ever has been being a mom,” she said. “I love working with kids.”
Jami’s passion for working with kids transferred smoothly to her next endeavor – taking on the head-coach position for the Mercer Island High School Sparkle Squad.
The Sparkle Squad is a cheer squad made up of 22 high school students with and without disabilities. This summer the Squad had the honor of performing at the Special Olympics, which was held in Seattle. They began preparing about six months prior to the event by practicing tons of dances and cheers.
“The program has really taken off,” said Jami. “Everyone who was involved [with the Special Olympics] was very touched.”
When the Blumensteins aren’t wrapped up with their busy lives, they enjoy being out on the water, travelling to Hawaii or their home in Palm Desert, or playing with their dog Teddy. Julia, Ryan and Grant all still love being active and playing sports or hanging out with friends.
Jami felt that the Island was the perfect place to raise her family. “You can feel safe having your kids out and about,” she said about when they were younger. “If your eyes aren’t on your kids then someone else’s are.”
“It’s this wonderful community,” Jami said, reminiscing about growing up on the Island herself. “Some things never change.”