Father's Day.

Caden and I are so thankful to have Kyle as a father / husband. He seriously is the BEST! He serves our family in so many ways. Caden and I had been in AZ the week leading up to Father's day, but we were happy to be back home to celebrate the day with him on Sunday! We enjoyed time together in the morning with breakfast and gifts and headed to the Washington's Brewer's Festival in the afternoon to enjoy some sunshine and unexpected time with friends! 

Happy Father's Day Kyle!

Love Caden (& Elise)  

Prescott in June.

Last week Caden and I flew to Arizona to see my folks. Let me first say that flying (solo) with a now mobile toddler is not easy, but it was well worth the effort to watch Caden relish time with his grandparents! We enjoyed the outdoors under the mountain pines, took adventures to the park and walks in the neighborhood, and played for hours out on the deck!

Savoring Saturday | Family Photos.

A few weeks ago we spent the morning on a little family photo shoot. In light of Caden's first birthday we wanted some family photos to document this season of life. For mother's day Kyle gave me a set of photo frames for our hallway. Maybe updating the contents of these frames will become an annual family tradition (Kyle - hint, hint)! Here are some of my favorites! 

Photo credit: Kelsey Moll
www.kelseymoll.com

Grandma & Grandpa Zabel Visit.

Kyle's parents were in town last week and we were so glad to have them stay with us! We went to the zoo and took our first carousel ride (mom made a rookie mistake... not all the horses go up and down... oops!) and our favorite animals were the otters and gorillas. We took a trip over to West Seattle to enjoy the views and food from Marination! We went on walks to the park and played on the water table out on the patio. Kyle and I even had the chance to go on a couple date nights! 

We certainly wish our family (both sides) lived closer. It was such a joy to see Caden laugh and play with his grandparents. 

Mother's Day Weekend.

Becoming Caden's mom has been one of the most joyful, exhausting, rewarding, challenging and growth-filled seasons of my life. Thanks Kyle & Caden for making me feel appreciated, known, and loved this Mother's Day weekend. It was special to have my boys cheering me on during the Kirkland Mother's Day 5K (the first official race I've run since becoming a mama)! We spent the weekend going for walks and bike rides, eating good food, and enjoyed time together in the sunshine!  I don't want to take for granted the wonderful mother's in my life, as well as my boys that made me a mama! 

Caden's First Birthday.

Caden,

How has it been a year since you were born?! The memory of so many moments still feel as fresh as yesterday. I remember hearing our OB say, "Kyle stand up and meet your son" during my c-section, and your dad's eyes tearing up (and then mine too)!  I also remember the bleary-eyed sleepless nights, with strong coffee in the mornings. There were many days when you would only nap in a Solly wrap, but I loved feeling your warm breath on my chest. I remember when you would splash in our kitchen sink, just loving bath time. I remember the day you crawled for the first time -- what a game changer! I love seeing your face as you try new foods (most with delight and some with distaste). Or watching you light up with excitement when your dad comes home from work.  Or how fast you crawl towards the kitchen when you hear the refrigerator doors open. And your grunts, squawks, and crinkle nose smiles are just the best. There are so many things about this year I want to remember and cherish!

To celebrate your birthday, we had a low key day spent together as a family (you get a little anxious around big groups, so we spared you from a big party). We started the morning with a walk to the grocery store for some balloons, and we stopped by the park on our way home -- you love the swings! We watched you open your gifts (caring mostly about the packaging), smash your first cake, and get soaked playing on your new water table (thanks grandma and grandpa)! We ended the day with a bike ride along the trail -- your new bike seat is a gift for both you and us :)

We are so thankful for the joys, challenges, learnings and adventures this past year has brought. Caden you add so much life and sweetness to our days and we can't imagine our family without you!

Happy first birthday sweet boy! 

Love, 

Mom and Dad

Savoring Saturday.

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For months, the word intentionality has been capturing my thoughts. My heart has been stirring to savor and enjoy the daily moments. This blog has always been a place to document adventures for the Zabels, but when we were DINKs it seemed more exciting because there were plenty of trips and restaurants to post about. Having Caden has changed how we spend our day-to day, but I want to see each one as something just as sweet to document. 

So I intend to blog with more rhythm and consistency in order to celebrate these daily moments (not only the big ones). For me this starts with perspective and priority. Whether it's making eggs, going for a walk, hanging with friends, or building towers of blocks my heart behind the Savoring Saturday post is to celebrate the time we spend together as a family.

These posts may not happen every week (and they certainly won't be posted on Saturdays), but my hope is to complete them more often than not. To help make this possible, one area of intentionality I've made is to eliminate my weekend work shifts in order to prioritize time spent as a family. It is a sacrifice, but it feels like the right shift for our family rhythms at this time. 

I hope this encourages you to see where in your life you could be more intentional with the ones you love and to truly savor those moments whether they be big or small. 

Summer Dreaming | 2018.

We trekked to REI this weekend in a 50 degree drizzle, but my heart is longing for Seattle's summer sunshine! Every year around this time (since Kyle and I have been married), I have made a summer bucket list of sorts (2014201520162017) to anticipate for and maximize the sunshine! Last year with a new baby I had to adjust and adapt my expectations for adventuring, but this year I feel more grounded on what's realistic for our family.

2018 SUMMER BUCKET LIST:

Camping trips

Bike rides on the Cross Kirkland Corridor

Family picnics

Afternoon walks to the Farmer's Market 

and just maybe... a Half Marathon!?

Give me that sun | Mexico.

We are back from a week in Punta Mita, Mexico, a small Pacific peninsula north of Puerto Vallarta. Kyle and I went a few years ago, but I knew going into this trip that I would need to adjust my expectations with Caden joining us.  A good friend had some insightful perspective, to think of vacation with kiddos as a change in scenery with a chance to have some focused time together as a family without all the normal responsibilities and stressors of life at home. We still had to coordinate naps, change diapers, and address the occasional fussing, but overall the trip was a wonderful and much needed break from the tired, grey winter in Seattle.

I think I'll be advocating for a sunny vacation every winter! 

Snowy Sunday.

We decided to take an impromptu trip out to the mountains to go snowshoeing with friends this weekend.  Getting out and adventuring is a bit more challenging with a baby (i.e timing it between naps, making sure he's wearing enough layers, etc.), but the challenge was rewarded with beautiful views, a fresh layer of powder, crisp mountain air, and good company!    

Tucson in February.

We are back from an extended weekend in Tucson. The weather was a bit chillier than I had hoped, but we got some beautiful views of Catalina Mountains, walks in the dry desert air, and time with grandparents and friends.  Kyle and I also had a few dinner date nights (with free babysitting) which was such a gift for my little foodie heart! 

Memory Keeping.

I've always placed high value on documenting life. I'm a journal keeper and a photo taker. However, in the busy seasons of life it gets more difficult to log all the memories. One of my goals for this year is "intentionality" and with that in mind I decided preserve some of our most meaningful digital images in a tangible form. Our 2017 photo book just arrived in the mail and I couldn't be more pleased with this little keepsake!

Wisconsin Holiday + New Year Expectations

Over Christmas we spent a week visiting Kyle's family in Wisconsin. The temps were freezing (literally sub-zero) but the wood-burning furnace and Caden's smiles kept us warm! We mostly stayed indoors drinking coffee, spending time with family, and staying up late playing games. As a gift, Kyle and I were able to enjoy a baby-free night away in Milwaukee! Then we returned to Seattle and had a low-key, early New Year's Eve (celebrating on east coast time, of course).

As we enter each new year, I always enjoy the exercise of reflecting on the past and setting new intentions for the future. But this year it has been challenging to find time and energy between our travels, Caden's naps, and my own sleepy brain.

One thing is for sure: we are eager to enter a new year with a clean slate. The year of 2017 was complicated. It felt like a long and arduous road filled with trials, but there were some intense joys along the way. We endured a difficult pregnancy, but in May we were blessed with Caden, who is an absolute delight! Then in November I required a second surgery to remove some large fibroids (cantaloupe and orange-sized) that had accompanied my pregnancy. We've entered the fray of parenthood, which continues to bring new and unique challenges, but also some of the sweetest rewards.

In 2018, we are excited for a fresh start as a family of three, reestablishing some rhythms and finding time to adventure. One of our deepest desires is to be more intentional in various aspects of our lives. We are ready for you, 2018!

Cheers and Happy New Year!

The Zabels 

Christmas Came Early | 2017

Since Kyle and I were married, our Christmas rhythms tend to look a bit different each year.  Some elements are consistent, but there is always some variation given the year and circumstances. With families that each live a plane ride away, it's challenging to form Christmas traditions that look exactly the same each year, but we still want to establish our own traditions that are unique and specific to us. This year, we are flying to Wisconsin to spend Christmas with Kyle's family, so we decided to have an early Zabel Christmas at home. For me, it's important to wake up slow, have coffee and Pulla bread, and enjoy time with Kyle and Caden. I want to read the Christmas story and remember Jesus' birth. I want to open thoughtful gifts wrapped under a hand cut tree with ornaments collected from various adventures throughout our years as a family.  I want to enjoy a meal, drink wine, sing happy birthday and eat cake to celebrate! I want to watch White Christmas by the glow of Christmas lights and candles cuddled up under warm blankets. I want to slow down in this busy season and savor time as a family of three, making memories together!  

Merry Christmas!

Caden takes AZ.

At the end of September Caden took his first flight to visit grandparents in AZ.  We were all a little nervous how the flight would go.  Fortunately there were only a few tearful moments, however they felt longer and more intense given the confines of the plane! We had a great visit. It was sweet to see my parents love on him, make him smile, read to him, and give him baths! Caden also met a few of my long time friends who made the drive up to Prescott to visit. We loved the stillness of walking through the pines of Prescott and can't wait to go back and visit!