Raylee Anne

Nothing in this life compares to the overwhelming joy of bringing a new baby into the world. Absolutely nothing. Last Wednesday, October 7th, at 11:39am we welcomed our daughter, Raylee Anne, to our family. Each time I look at her I am flooded with emotions and can't believe that this little miracle is actually mine. She is an angel and an absolute treasure. What an honor and privilege it is to be her mother. 

The name Raylee Anne(pronounced like Haley or Kayley with an 'R') comes from putting together the names of my grandparents, Ray and LeAnne Iversen.  Grandpa Ray and Grandma LeAnne were the most adorable couple and the greatest parents and grandparents. Although they won't get to meet baby Ray in this life, I'm proud that her name is a tribute to their incredible legacy. 

Hope you enjoy these photos of our newborn baby girl. Can't believe it's already been 8 days!  

HUGE shout out to our incredible doula/masseuse, Meredith Ellis with Stille Wellness. She was by my side throughout my entire labor and birth and I could not be more grateful for her role and calming presence. 

Hume Lake 2014

No internet. No cell reception. No TV. No distractions. No agenda. 

This was our reality during our ten day family vacay to Hume Lake, CA...and it was perfect. 

Our trip consisted of daily walks around the lake, swimming, spike ball, fishing, hiking, family dinners, cards and game nights, waterfall jumps, bear hunts, and LOTS quality time with family.  

For those of you who may not know, Hume Lake is home to one of the largest Christian Camps in Cali and one of my dearest buds, Haley, happened to be counseling the last part of our trip. It was such a blast to be able reunite with her and spend free time catching up and hanging with campers. I felt like I was in high school again and it was totally refreshing and rejuvenating...exactly what this momma needed. 

The pictures below are just a tiny snippet of our trip. 

Rowe's 1st Birthday Party!

Had an absolute BLAST yesterday at Rowe's "Astrowenaut" themed birthday party. The day was filled with cake pops, the best of friends, and Rowe Puns. :) 

The theme of the birthday came about several months ago when Rowe was pretty little and we were going a little crazy thinking of "Rowe puns." Little did we know that July 20th, the date of the party, was the 45th anniversary of the moon landing! NO JOKE! How insanely awesome is that? Too cool. 

All that to say, Rowe is truly such a sweet and joyful little dude. He is full of life and wonder and each day it is a joy to watch him grow and learn. We love him to infinity and beyond and thank God for blessing us with a healthy, happy, hammy bubba like Rowe. We adore being parents and cannot wait to see what this next year brings for our little family. 


Family Hike

There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than getting out of the city and going for a hike. With family. 

It's rare these day's to have most of my immediate family in the same state so today's hike was just THAT much sweeter. 

Thank you God for these people and the blessing that they are to me. Couldn't imagine this life without my loving fam. Life is rich and heart is full. 

Signs of Spring

One thing that I'm absolutely sure of is that I love spring. I love how blue the sky is and how green the grass glows; somehow even more so than in other seasons. I love the beauty that begins to blossom in the trees and on peoples faces as the anticipation for sunshine and warmth arises. Spring is simply lovely and I can't help but grin as I write here describing it. 

Another thing that makes me grin is my little sister, Julia Joy. Julia is just thee best and is an absolutely incredible photographer. Check out here work here at juliajoyphotography.com. She happens to be on Spring Break visiting this week so we decided to take advantage and do an impromptu photo shoot in the Quad at UW.

My little buddy Rowe is just a week shy of 8 months and he is an absolute DELIGHT. He loves to eat applesauce, swing at the park, practice crawling, watch Sesame Street, take showers, and play with anything other than his actual toys. His laughter fills me up with enough love and strength to make it through any kind of day. I am so thankful for him and for the gift that motherhood has brought me. Looking forward to the adventures of today and those to come with my little family. 

Thanks again, Julia, for taking these amazing photos! I will always cherish them. XO. 


Afternoon stroll

Sometimes it's fun to play tourist in your own city. 

There are literally hundreds of adorable little neighborhoods in Seattle that I have yet to explore so we decided to check one of them out on Monday. Our destination: the lakeside waterfront of Leschi. 

Leschi is a wee neighborhood perched up against the southwest corner of Lake Washington. Beautiful waterfront real estate, a boat filled marina, and a local grocery store give it character. 

Our foggy afternoon was made complete by a lunch destination at Pert's Deli: a mom and pop deli shop with the cutest old man, Max, working the register. 

I'm looking forward to exploring more of the city's hidden little neighborhoods in 2014 with my two boys. Below are a few snaps from our day.  


Thanksgiving 2013

This year, we spent Thanksgiving up in Lynden, Washington with our dear friends the Hermans and Blake's side of the family. You know those family friends that you've known forever and call "Aunt" and "Uncle"? That's the Hermans. And since I married Blake they have treated me as nothing less than family. I love it. And I love them. 

We drove up Wednesday and spent the night so that we could enjoy the full day with everyone, including Blake's parents who flew in from Colorado Springs. I woke up Thanksgiving morning to a Woods americano, the Macy's Parade, a crackling fire, and the smell of bacon in the air. The absolute perfect way to start the day. 

Our breakfast was incredible. It consisted of the thickest, tastiest, butcher-crafted-bacon I have ever eaten, Julie's famous Monkey Bread, scrambled eggs, and of course, coffee. For those of you who don't know, Wes Herman is the owner and founder of The Woods Coffee, a local coffee chain up in Bellingham, so we were blessed with lots of yummy coffee all day long. (Had to give a little plug there cause the coffee is just SO good). It was heavenly. 

I'd have to say, the best part of the day was just being near our friends and family that we love. It was wonderful to take a day and laugh, play, eat, and enjoy each other's company. With our family being spread out across the country, it's rare that we get to enjoy these simplicities, making it that much more special when we do.

So when asked what I'm thankful for this year my answer is simply FAMILY; and quality time spent with them. Typical answer, I know. But it couldn't be more true for me at this point in my life. I am so incredibly grateful to God for giving me a husband with family who I feel so close to and loved by. I truly feel just as close to Blake's family as I do my own, and THAT is saying something. My family is a gift that I never want to take for granted. For this I give thanks and praise to the Lord. 

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" Pslam 106:1

The infamous Monkey Bread! 

The infamous Monkey Bread! 


It's the Holiday Season

Well. Here we are: entering the holiday season and about two week's past Rowe's three month birthday. My, my, my have we been enjoying ourselves. 

 This past month has been a blast with baby Rowe. He has really become such a happy little dude and we've enjoyed taking him on his first plane ride to San Diego, a pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving parties, weekend trips to Whidbey, going on runs with mom, trick-or-treating on Queen Anne, and going to Camp Indianola on the peninsula for our church's college retreat! It's been a busy month around here but oh so sweet and full. 

All that to say, I am so very grateful that I get to fully enjoy the wonderful holiday season as I continue to grow in my new role as a full time mom. Life with kids really is good for the soul. I find myself laughing, loving, and truly living more now that I'm not focusing as much on myself. Being a parent has its challenges, but it's by far the most rewarding and humbling thing I've experienced. 

I took a few photos of Rowe while we slept in and snuggled on this cold, blustery morning. He is 15 weeks old tomorrow. Not sure his height and weight exactly but he is off the charts in everything. Got ourselves a big, healthy boy! :) Hope you enjoy the pics! 



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Two Months

First of all, I can't believe I have a baby...A REAL BABY!  It's incredible, and mind blowing, and miraculous, and AMAZING. Ha. Seriously though, not only do I have a baby...I have a healthy, two-month-old, sweet-little-angel, baby-boy. Praise the Lord. 

Yes. It's true. Our little Rowe bear is two months old today. We are having an absolute blast watching him grow into such a joyful little dude. He has quickly found his thumb and is becoming an avid thumb sucker. Not only is it adorable, it but it's helps soothe him during the night so mom and dad can get a full nights rest. We'll be encouraging it for now. Obvi. 

Rowe also loves to take baths and gets the biggest grin i've ever seen when I put him in his warm little tub. His smile just melts me. I can't even explain it. It's the absolute best feeling to know that he's beginning to recognize me as his momma and his smile makes me feel like he loves me back. Rowe also loves his daddy so much. He smiles and almost giggles when dad tells him stories and sings him songs. I can't wait to watch the two of them continue to bond over boy stuff like baseball and bugs. They are going to be quite the pair.

We are pretty excited for this coming weekend as Rowe will traveling with us to San Diego for Uncle Bryant's wedding. It's going to be a very meaningful trip as Rowe will be meeting Auntie Brooke and Uncle Bryant for the first time! He'll also be meeting his great grandparents from California and Alabama, along with several other aunties, uncles, and cousins. Wish us luck as this is our fist trip traveling with a little babe. :) Thanks for checking out my blog and stay tuned for more pics from our upcoming trip! 

-Momma J


Rowe LOVES his stuffed animal Pooh Bear that was given to him from his Great Grandma Barbara's Teddy Bear Collection. 

Rowe LOVES his stuffed animal Pooh Bear that was given to him from his Great Grandma Barbara's Teddy Bear Collection. 

Rowe LOVES sucking his thumb!

Rowe LOVES sucking his thumb!

Rowe LOVES bath time!  

Rowe LOVES bath time!  

Rowe's dedication at our church. 

Rowe's dedication at our church. 

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Rowe Fox Smiley Bouncer.JPG
Rowe last image.JPG

Four Weeks

Wow. Our little Rowe is four weeks old today! Time is FLYING! It's crazy how the month before Rowe came I could have sworn that time was moving backwards but now that he's here our day's seem to be over before they begin! It has been challenging at times, but overall we are feeling SO happy and blessed with our little buddy. 

This week it has been especially fun to see Rowe practice lifting his neck when he is laying on his tummy. He is such a strong boy and has started pushing his arms up under his chest to get his neck up even higher! Blake and I will just stare at each other and laugh at how entertaining it is to watch our ambitious little bobble-head boy. 

Ever since Blake went back to work, Rowe and I have been staying busy going on lots of walks, meeting family and friends (including new baby cousins!), running errands, snuggling and sleeping in, and, how could I forget, feeding. I have been so thankful for this amazing weather because it's me to get out of the house pretty much everyday. Thank goodness for our sexy black Mazda MPV mini van that has made it SO easy to transport Rowe and his sweet "Bob" stroller. Whether we are headed to Greenlake for a quick walk or to Target for errands, the Bob stroller has been more than ideal. The Bob is kind of like the mercedes of baby strollers, or in Seattle's case, a Subaru. Great for jogging/off-roading and just everyday strolling.  

 In the evenings, Blake and I have enjoyed catching up on episodes of Newsroom (Best show ever) and have recently started a new series called Orphan Black. Another series that I highly recommend and have been catching up on is Parenthood (very fitting, right?). Rowe and I have loved starting this series with our bestie, Jamie, and are SO excited for season 5 to start in September! 

All that to say, parenting has been such a joy. Life truly is a miraculous gift from God and it took having a baby for me to realize it. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  


For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
— Psalm 139: 13-14
Baby cousin, Kate Everly, born 7/18/13 

Baby cousin, Kate Everly, born 7/18/13 

Hanging out with family for Eleanor's 4th birthday

Hanging out with family for Eleanor's 4th birthday


Rowe Curtis Abel

On July 26th, 2013, at 3:52 pm, our son, Rowe Curtis Abel, was born. It was an extremely long and tiring day; however, like most parents would say, we would do it all again in a heartbeat for that euphoric feeling of getting to meet our little boy for the first time. No other experience in this life can compare to that of becoming a parent. It's inexplainable and incomprehensible until it happens to you. Like a overwhelming flood of love and joy headed straight for your heart. The only way it's expressed is through happy tears that just don't want to stop. I finally understand why mom's cry on the first day their little kids head off to kindergarden. Their little babies are growing up and leaving to go explore and learn their place in this world. It's hard to accept that they will ever leave us but the idea is enough to bring me to tears. I'm grateful for this newfound sensitivity and am so thrilled to share more of this journey with you through pictures and posts on this blog. Hope you enjoy these pictures from the day Rowe Curtis was born!