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.


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

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.

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.


Camping trips

Bike rides on the Cross Kirkland Corridor

Family picnics

Afternoon walks to the Farmer's Market 

and just maybe... a Half Marathon!?

Summer Dreaming | 2017.

About this time of year, I'm getting tired of Seattle's rainy gray days and eager for the summer's sunshine to return!  I have made a bucket list of sorts every year since Kyle and I got married (2014, 2015, and 2016) to plan for and make the most of summer sunshine!  I know our adventures will need to be tamed a bit, as we will be spending them with a new baby, but I still want to dream of summer! 

2017 Summer Bucket List:

Spending time with visitors in town to meet baby Z! 

Cousin's wedding on Hood Canal 

Strawberry picking 

Weekend in Walla Walla 

Hopeful for one camping trip

Road trip to Bend, OR

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

Midwest Wedding Weekend.

A few weeks ago, Kyle and I were back in the Midwest to celebrate a wedding and spend time with family.  First, we flew into Chicago and spent the night exploring and indulging at few delicious spots in some cool Chicago neighborhoods.  We also played tourists - wandering Michigan Ave, grabbing coffee at Intelligencia, snapping photos at the Bean.  Then we drove north (near the Wisconsin border) for the Moreno / Welch wedding, with Kyle as the best man.  It was a beautiful ceremony and a great party!  To end the trip, we made a quick stop in Madison (we want to go back again!) on the way to Kyle's hometown where we spent time with family, rode the four-wheeler, and cuddled some new baby kittens.  It was a full weekend (a bit exhausting, and too short as always) but so fun to celebrate with family and friends! 

Farm Days | Wyoming.

Kyle and I spent the weekend in Wyoming visiting some dear friends on their new farm.  I drove a tractor for the first time, we went to the Cody Rodeo to experience true cowboy culture, and got to meet the Christofferson's newest addition Jacob Truitt! I think my favorite parts of the trip were the conversations and laughter that was shared.  I appreciate the way the Christofferson's live their life: raw and authentic.  We certainly miss having this family in Seattle, but we are excited about their new adventure.  I have so much respect for the hard work that the farm life entails!  Here are a few photos of our trip below. 

Camping | Larrabee State Park.

Spent the weekend camping in the Chuckanut Mountains.  We met some friends on Saturday and hiked Oyster Dome, made s'mores by camp stove (no campfires due to burn bans), and fell asleep to rain drops on the tent. Sunday was a slow relaxing day walking around Bellingham and grabbing dinner with friends. Love exploring the Pacific Northwest one camping trip at a time. Here are some photos from the trip below.