Caden's First Birthday.


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! 


Mom and Dad

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 

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!

Summer Fades to Fall.

Holy cow where did the summer go! Oh that's right, we've spent the past several months adjusting to life with a new baby. I had lofty summer goals, but our plans needed a bit of tweaking.  Instead of hiking we drove a little past Snoqualmie for a picnic at Lake Easton State Park to be in the mountains. Instead of camping we pitched a hammock and had a picnic at Greenlake. Instead of a road trip to Walla Walla we met up with friends and walked through the zoo! We largely stayed local spending time with family who came in from out of town to visit. However, we did get out of Seattle a couple times, once to celebrate a cousin's wedding on the hood canal and the other was to Arizona to visit grandparents (which was Caden's first flight). I'm still dreaming of trips and places we want to take Caden, but we are learning that things may look a bit different with our newest family addition and we wouldn't have it any other way! 

Birthdays in Years + Months.

Yesterday we celebrated my 31st birthday and Caden's 3 month birthday. It was a low key and relaxing day - just what I needed. We were up early with the little one, drank coffee and opened cards. Then we packed up for brunch at Tallulah's (one of my favorite spots). We walked through Volunteer Park and took photos at the Conservatory.  For dinner, Kyle grilled some steaks and we topped it off with a slice of my favorite cake for dessert (chocolate peanut butter cake from Deru Market). Thanks for all the birthday wishes! 

Visitors + Reflections.

Over the first several weeks since Caden was born, we have had a quite a few visitors here to meet the little man.  We have been so grateful for family and friends who have supported, cleaned, and cooked for us. It seems crazy that it has already been a little over two months since he was born!  Time flies between feedings, diaper changes, sips of coffee and baby cries. This has been a season of adjustment both for him and us.  We are learning what it looks like to sacrifice in new ways.  I am seeing sides of my heart that are both beautiful and ugly (if I'm honest), but know that these are refining times and I wouldn't trade them. We are beginning to develop rhythms, but I'm sure those will change just as quickly as his weight! I think one lesson that has been most prominent is that I can create a plan, but I need to hold it loosely.   


Photo credit: Kelsey Moll    

Caden's Birthday.

It's been about two weeks since the day Caden Mark Zabel was born (5/6/17). Since then, time has gone by both fast and slow. I feel mixed emotions as I reflect back on that day. It didn't go as I had dreamed or planned, but it ended with a sweet baby boy in our arms and so much to be thankful for.

We found out Caden's birthdate only a few days beforehand. Our c-section was accelerated because Caden was breech and I had some pregnancy complications which made it difficult for him to change positions to enable a natural delivery. A scheduled surgery wasn't how I envisioned labor happening, but it was our reality. We got packed up that Saturday morning and drove to the hospital knowing that in just a couple hours we would meet our son.

About an hour prior to surgery our OB updated us about our most recent ultrasound imaging (done the day prior) and she explained that this surgery could be a bit longer and potentially more complicated than expected. As we entered the operating room, my biggest prayer was for a healthy baby. The anesthesiologist went to work and I slowly lost feeling in the lower half of my body.  

The first part of my surgery was fairly smooth and I soon heard the doctor say, "Kyle stand up and meet your son."  As I looked up at Kyle, I saw him smile and cry; tears began to slip down my face too.  The sound of Caden's first cry was the best sound I could have heard.

The rest of my surgery was less smooth, longer than expected, and certainly not how I imagined those precious first minutes with my son to transpire. But fortunately my ultimate prayer was answered; Caden was a healthy and beautiful baby boy. 

We spent three days in the hospital and my recovery time was slower than I'd hoped, but recently I've started feeling much better. It was such a blessing for Kyle to have two weeks off work and for my mom to stay a few days to help with our transition.

People ask about our birth story and how we are holding up over the past few weeks. My response is that it wasn't glamorous and it's been an exhausting ride so far, but every time we look at Caden we are overcome with joy. It's a beautiful thing to be the parents of a newborn. We are so blessed with this baby boy and pray that we love and parent him well by God's grace.