Camping at the coast.

We had almost forgotten how much we love camping. Last year, we went solo with Caden and had a rough go, but this year we armed up with a bunch of good friends and had a blast on the Washington coast! We had a group of 15 (with kiddos) which meant lots of extra hands for cooking, cleaning, tending the fire, and playing with the kids. We made epic breakfasts, played at the beach, and enjoyed time together around the campfire. I also loved seeing Caden run free along the shoreline and romp around the campsite with his other friends. Cheers to campfire memories with good friends!

A Week in AZ.

The Zabels soaked up some Vitamin D during a week in AZ visiting my (Elise’s) parents. It was a bittersweet trip as it was likely our last time staying at the house that my dad built in the pines of Prescott. They are in the process of selling the house to move up to Washington! We went for hikes, celebrated Easter, and Kyle and I even got a few days away baby free! I am thankful for more memories made.

Summer Dreaming | 2019.

Given the lovely sunshine this past weekend, we took our first family bike ride of the year. It got us excited to think that summer is just around the corner - with long days, a warm sun, and opportunities to adventure! We are continuing our tradition of making a summer bucket list to anticipate the season.

2019 SUMMER BUCKET LIST:

Bike rides on the Kirkland Corridor

Exploring local parks (Caden’s favorite)

Camping with friends

Trip to Milwaukee to meet our Nephew!


Previous Years Summer Dreaming: 2014201520162017, 2018


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! 

Summer Dreaming | 2018.

We trekked to REI this weekend in a 50 degree drizzle, but my heart is longing for Seattle's summer sunshine! Every year around this time (since Kyle and I have been married), I have made a summer bucket list of sorts (2014201520162017) to anticipate for and maximize the sunshine! Last year with a new baby I had to adjust and adapt my expectations for adventuring, but this year I feel more grounded on what's realistic for our family.

2018 SUMMER BUCKET LIST:

Camping trips

Bike rides on the Cross Kirkland Corridor

Family picnics

Afternoon walks to the Farmer's Market 

and just maybe... a Half Marathon!?

Snowy Sunday.

We decided to take an impromptu trip out to the mountains to go snowshoeing with friends this weekend.  Getting out and adventuring is a bit more challenging with a baby (i.e timing it between naps, making sure he's wearing enough layers, etc.), but the challenge was rewarded with beautiful views, a fresh layer of powder, crisp mountain air, and good company!    

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!

4th of July Weekend | Mt. Rainier National Park

Kyle and I headed out to Mt. Rainier National Park with some friends this past 4th of July weekend. It was great to get off the grid to camp, hike and hang out by the fire!

Our initial plan was to hike to Camp Muir (base camp for the Rainier summit), but due to low clouds and white-out conditions, the ranger didn't recommend a trek to such high elevation. Instead we hiked to Panorama Point which still involved crossing snow patches, glissading, and some spectacular views!  

Hope you enjoyed your 4th of July weekend! 

Arizona Family Vacation.

Last week we traveled to Arizona for a family vacation, including Kyle's parents (Barry and Beth) and my parents (Mark and Ann).  Kyle and I grew up in different states and our folks met for the first time at our wedding (almost 3 years ago - how has time gone by so fast?!) so we wanted to carve out some time and space for everyone to get to know each other better.  

Our trip was mostly based in Prescott, AZ (at my parents' cabin) with day trips mixed in throughout the week.  We also had a side project (reupholstering some of our teak furniture) to keep us busy.  Here are some photos of the trip:

We celebrated Mother's Day by grilling, chatting, and playing Sequence. 

We took a day trip to see Montezuma's Castle and the ghost town of Jerome. 

We reupholstered our teak dining chairs. 

We enjoyed the red rock beauty of Sedona with a hike at Oak Creek Canyon and views from the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

We finished the trip with spectacular vistas at the Grand Canyon.

I am so grateful that we were able to spend this past week with our family.  We created memories and added new depths to our relationships.  

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

Leavenworth Weekend Getaway.

We recently headed to the mountains with friends to relax and enjoy some snowshoeing.  We stopped in downtown Leavenworth to stroll the streets and grab a beer at Icicle Brewing.  

We enjoyed two days of snowshoeing near Stevens Pass at Lake Valhalla and Lanham Lake.  Fresh powder and falling snowflakes, made the trail feel like a winter wonderland! 

The highlight of our AirBnB cabin was its hot tub overlooking the Wenatchee river.  It was awesome to soak after a full day of snowshoeing. 

The weekend was a perfect mix of adventure, relaxation, good conversation, and laughter! 

SUMMER FADES TO FALL.

This summer has been wonderful!  Kyle and I have explored the PNW via hiking, running, camping, and biking.  We celebrated our one year Anniversary and both of our birthdays (all within a few week span).  Most recently we traveled down to San Luis Obispo | CA to see some dear friends get married!  At the beginning of the summer, our goals were to do the following:  Ride to Red Hook Brewery | Buy a tent & go camping | Hike in the San Juans | Drive along the PCH | Run a 1/2 Marathon.  I am happy to report we were able to check off the items on our bucket list!  Here is a collection of photos that capture some of our summer adventures. 

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SLO | WEEKEND.

Our last summer adventure was in San Luis Obispo | CA for an extended weekend. The trip began with a drive down Highway 1.  Such a spectacular drive, we even saw two pods of whales!  Staying at the Granada Hotel was the perfect spot in downtown SLO.  We hiked Bishops Peak, took cruisers and biked to a couple wineries, enjoyed the city's restaurant scene, and celebrated Kyle's birthday!  However, the highlight of the trip was celebrating with the Stipechs at their wedding. It was at a quaint venue (the Cass House) nestled in a small beach town. The design, florals, and food were perfect.  It's such an honor to witness the intimacy of two lives being joined in the covenant of marriage.