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

Reflection | Marriage Year 4.

It's crazy that Kyle and I have been married four years. Every year is a blessing, and each year is different. This past year has been filled with so much anticipation, change, adjustment, and exhaustion.

We started year three with a multi-week road trip adventure through Glacier National Park, Banff and Jasper. This year we can barely drive a few minutes without our three month old screaming in the car seat!

We always look forward celebrating and reflecting together on our Anniversary. However, we recognize that as life seasons change, the ways in which we celebrate will also change (even a date night is hard to come by these days).

As we reflect on this past year, it's probably been our hardest year yet, but God has been faithful to walk through this season with us. We have certainly grown in the ways we love and serve one another. 

Here are a few reflections from this past year:

  • Sleep is underrated
  • How can a 2 second smile from your baby can redeem 2 hours of screaming?
  • Adventuring is much different with a newborn... and that's ok
  • Document the daily moments
  • Cheep isn't the same as value (some things are definitely worth paying for)
  • It's ok to order takeout at Deru Market multiple times per week, right?
  • Amazon Prime is a lifesaver
  • Sometimes a glass of wine after the baby is in bed can be the best "date night"

 Cheers to the adventures that await in marriage year five (as a family of three)!

The Zabels

Glacier | Banff | & Jasper.

We just returned from a two week trip exploring Glacier, Banff and Jasper on what we've called our #zabelGBJadventure!  Each national park had such unique beauty.  Photos can't do justice for the magnitude, brilliance and complexity of the landscapes.  Here are a few photos and memories from each of the parks we explored.

Glacier National Park (Montana):  

  • Taking a dip in Lake McDonald after a hot day of hiking
  • A full day of rain meant: 1) morning breakfast at Eddies while strategizing how to effectively pack up camp to keep our gear dry, and 2) hanging out indoors at Lake McDonald Lodge
  • Going to the Sun road - epic beauty (when the clouds stay away!) 
  • Exploring Many Glacier: lunch at the lodge, hiking to Iceberg Lake and seeing a moose! 
  • Hiking the Highline Trail (we attempted 3x due to weather... and finally on our last day were able to make the 13 mile trek along the ridge line).  This hike included a gorgeous view of Grinnell Glacier, a close encounter with a mama grizzly and her cub, and so many beautiful flowers
  • Campfires (and s'mores) in the evenings

Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada):

  • That first shower after a week of camping... heaven!
  • Ski-lift ride up Mt. Norquay + lunch with a spectacular view
  • Hiking to the two tea houses around Lake Louise: Lake Agnes + Plain of Six Glaciers
  • Camping at a site with a bear proof electric fence (i.e they had had six grizzlies around the perimeter the day we checked in) 
  • Sunrise view of Lake Louise from our room (thanks for the upgrade Fairmont!) 
  • Canoeing on Lake Louise: the baby blue water is unreal!

Jasper National Park (Alberta, Canada):

  • Driving the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper.  We spent 5 hours taking in the breathtaking sites along the drive, but definitely could have taken more time! 
  • Dinner at a local brewery
  • The Miette Hot Springs after a long day of driving 
  • Celebrating our 3rd anniversary: relaxing by the pool, time at the spa and date night dinner with a view!

Summer Dreaming | 2016.

Each spring, as the rain slows and the days lengthen, my heart begins to long for summer here in the PNW.  It's our favorite time of the year.  I like to make a bucket list before summer begins because without a plan the season can slip away so quickly! Here are the lists from 2015 and 2014.  What are you dreaming up for this summer? 

Summer Bucket List 2016:

Family trip to Prescott (Zabels + Benadoms)

Hike to Camp Muir at Mt. Rainier 

Camping in Winthrop

Anniversary expedition: Glacier + Banff + Jasper

Reflections | Marriage Year 2.

How is it possible that a year of marriage can pass by both so fast and yet just slow enough?  

As each year comes and goes, Kyle and I want to make it a priority to celebrate and reflect together.  There is value in looking back on the past year to be thankful for how God has blessed us and where He has taken us.  This reflection comes with an honest recognition that it hasn't all been easy and picturesque, but with healthy doses of humility, tough conversations, tears, laughter and joy!  We are not the same couple as when we started this journey, and I'm thankful for the ongoing transformation.  I think the sweetest changes have been the ways our hearts continue to be softened.

Here are a few reflections from this past year:

  • If something takes less than two minutes to do... just do it now!
  • A clean bathroom makes for a happy home
  • Monthly family budget meetings pair well with a glass of wine 
  • Real community takes time to develop, but it's worth the investment 
  • Take time to adventure and dream (but don't forget rest and reality)
  • Document the moments both big and small
  • When in doubt: run it out

Cheers to the start of year three as a family of two (for now). 

The Zabels 


Kyle and I celebrated our one year anniversary this past weekend in the San Juan Islands.

Our trip began with a ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.  We spent the day exploring San Juan Island from Roche Harbor to the lighthouse at Lime Kiln State Park.  We finished the evening with a delicious dinner at Duck Soup Inn before catching the late ferry to Orcas Island, where we stayed for the weekend.   

Saturday morning we grabbed coffee at Brown Bear Bakery and strolled through the farmers market. Later in the day we ventured into Moran State Park and hiked to the top of Mt. Constitution for some spectacular views.

Sunday was a beautiful day for a bike ride around Lopez Island and a quick break for some wine tasting.

Before heading back to Seattle on Monday morning we had our favorite breakfast of the trip at Roses in Eastsound.