Savoring Saturday | Snowy Seattle.

This weekend Seattle braced for “Snowmageddon” (more snowfall than Seattle has seen for years). People were frenzied with nerves and excitement. Grocery stores were selling out of basic supplies. So we stocked our pantry and hunkered down. Snowy days stir up for me all the cozy feelings of Koselig (the Norwegian version of Hygge) — cue warm layers and wool socks, hot coffee, a good book on the couch, and the flicker of candles. I also love how the snow brings quiet to the city as the flakes fall in silence and the streets are empty. However, despite the weather, we still made a point to get outside. We built a snowman (Caden’s first), sledded with friends, and played at the park. It feels like a winter wonderland!

Leavenworth Weekend.

We headed over the pass to Leavenworth for a weekend away with friends.

A few memorable moments:

  • Seeing Caden explore the snow at his own pace (cautiously).

  • PB&J sandwiches in the car after a short/failed snowshoeing attempt.

  • Hot-tubbing after the kiddos went to bed.

  • Bratwurst and beers at the Rhein Häus.

  • Enjoying time with friends.

Documenting | 2018.

Memory keeping and documenting are something our family values (probably Elise a bit more than Kyle). I love being able to look back on journal entries, blog posts, and photographs to be reminded of the grace and goodness in our lives. One rhythm I have tried to cultivate is creating a “Family Memory Book” at the beginning of the new year to encapsulate images from the prior year into one tangible book. We just got our 2018 book in the mail and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

This holiday season was filled with family, feasting, giving, receiving, and Caden requesting Jingle Bells to be sung on repeat (he says “ji-ma-go, ji-ma-go”). We enjoyed hosting “Nama” and “gampa” (Elise’s parents). Caden did fairly well with the Christmas tree. He loved seeing the lights turn on, and there were only a few ornament fatalities. Per tradition, we baked our Pulla Bread (a Finnish coffee bread) on Christmas Eve and went to a candle light service at our church. One thing that I don’t want to forget is on Christmas morning when Caden exclaimed, “mail came!” as he saw all the gifts under the tree. A huge gift for Kyle and I was a few days away (baby free) and a handful of date nights (thanks grandma and grandpa)! Our tree has been taken down and our decorations boxed away, but I want to savor and recall the sweet moments of the season for as long as possible. Now it’s onto 2019!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

The Zabels

A Week in Wisconsin.

We recently spent a week visiting family in Wisconsin and taking in the beautiful fall colors. Caden loved being outside, exploring the barns, and seeing the kitties and the “neigh” (horse). We took a day trip to a pumpkin patch and watched a lot of Brewers baseball. Kyle and I even took a few days away (baby free) to relax and recharge!

Here are a few photos from the trip.

Summer Fades to Fall.

I always feel like the summer speeds by and it’s all I can do to buckle up and enjoy it!

Our summer was filled with bike rides, park swings, a few weekend trips, farmer’s market flowers, picnics, the occasional date night, water table splashing, furniture re-arranging, and a half marathon.

Here is our summer in photos:




Camping | Diablo Lake.

We took our first camping trip with Caden.  I'll be honest - it was a lot more challenging than we anticipated. There were a host of factors: rain, cold, sleeplessness, and diaper blowouts were all at play.

But if I'm honest, there were also some joys amidst the trials: watching Caden explore in the woods, hiking as a family, finding reprieve at a nearby park, and seeing Diablo Lake (it was beautiful even in cloudy rainy weather)! 

I think the biggest takeaway from this trip is: no matter how much we plan and prepare, we are ultimately N O T in control. I'm learning to embrace the challenges of disrupted plans and seek joyful moments amidst them.

Reflection | Marriage Year 5.

Photo Credit:  Kelsey Moll

Photo Credit: Kelsey Moll

Five years married to my best friend. Every year is a gift. This past year has brought joys, adjustments, and moments of exhaustion. We began with a three-month old baby... now he’s a 15-month old toddler and always on the go! 

Here are a few reflections from this past year:

  • Date nights (and babysitters) are invaluable. 
  • Good sleep is a game changer... get a king mattress!
  • Embrace the tension between the schedule and the spontaneous.
  • It’s ok to relax some previously held standards (e.g. clean floors). 
  • Family photo shoots are well worth the investment.
  • Be intentional and savor time together.

Cheers to the adventures that await in marriage year six!

The Zabels

Savoring Saturday | Birthday Weekend.

This year my birthday was incredibly glamorous. We spent hours rearranging furniture and moving items into a new storage unit. We slept on an air mattress for multiple nights (one of which deflated at 4:30 am). Like I said, epic. However, all of this effort is really an attempt to be more practical and make our current living space last a bit longer (plus I got a king-sized bed out of the deal). I am very thankful for the friends and family who came to help out very last minute! Fortunately we did make time for a date night with delicious food and some ice cream dessert. I see so much of God's goodness in this season, even when it feels totally exhausting. I'm excited to see what this next year holds!

Impromptu Whistler Weekend.

Kyle and I are planners by nature so spontaneity, let's just say it's rare. Last weekend we had originally planned a camping trip in Eastern WA, but the weather forecast and lack of tree cover forced us to bail. Instead, on less than a day's notice, we found ourselves on an impromptu trip up to Whistler BC. Not everything went as we would have "planned" -- the drive was much longer than expected (bad traffic and added stops for Caden), our daytime and bedtime rhythms were totally thrown off, and Kyle was battling a summer cold -- but we made the most of it! Caden loved the hotel pool and staying up past 9pm. We strolled the Village and explored Lost Lake park. My favorite part of the trip was the Peak2Peak Gondola with spectacular views from Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. A trip to Whistler wasn't on our Summer Bucket List, but I'm learning the beauty in allowing my plans to take a backseat! 

4th of July.

This 4th of July was so fun! We walked to downtown Kirkland to see the festivities and ended up joining the kids' parade! We hung out with my cousin Katie and enjoyed a cookout with friends. We even got a chance to watch fireworks by the waterfront. I just love relaxing time with my family!