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! 

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.