Home.

The past month has felt like a whirlwind of emotion and transition for our family. Our exciting news is that we purchased our first home! Our path toward homeownership has been long and winding, but ultimately we felt that this timing and this particular home were both right. The packing/moving process was a fun challenge with an inquisitive toddler who wanted to break into every box and run underneath our feet, but it has been so beautiful to watch Caden’s joy as he romps around our new home with so much room to play! While moving can be disruptive on so many levels, we are now starting to feel more settled, and so thankful for this blessing, and so eager to make new memories in this new home!


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

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!

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!

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. 

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