Archive for the 'Travels' Category
In July 2012, we purchased a 2003 Keystone Laredo fifth wheel to use for our family vacations and other random gallivanting around the U.S. We spent about a week remodeling it, and have been enjoying it since. At 30 feet long, it’s currently tucked in next to our house and serves as our “guest suite” for our Colorado visitors. This is probably my favorite of all of our remodels…I love the wainscoting and all the colors together. Pure happy. Perfect layout. Just big enough. Love it.
We pulled out the old couch and put in a queen futon…so easy to do in a fifth wheel. Curtains are from Urban Outfitters (as are all of the adhesive quotes).
There are three twin sized bunks in the rear of the fifth wheel (in this photo, there is no mattress on the bottom). This was a HUGE selling point for us. Three girls = three bunks. Fifth wheels are very family friendly if you can find the right model that works for you. Curtain is from Urban Outfitters.
Here is where you will stay if you come visit the Happy Janssens in Colorado! And because I know you’ll ask…we are NOT going back on the road Just love having a “getaway”! We’ve actually been in Colorado for TWO years now and in the same house for one. That’s a record. We adore Colorado and love being settled. Come and see us!
Purple in bedroom: Dutchess Lilac (Behr)
Green in kitchen: Lemongrass (Behr)
Blue in slide/bathroom: Catalina (Olympic)
Yellow in bunk: Lions Mane (Olympic)
Last night we watched magical puffy clouds forming over Denver International Airport…and then we flew into them. Leaving Daddy and Colorado behind, we jetted to Iowa to spend 3 weeks with Nana, Papa, and other family and friends. We’re looking forward to daily adventures in this land of sunshine and corn…and I promise to share them here!
We are going to miss Daddy…but we’ll be praying for him daily as he is in the midst of his busiest and most stressful time of the year. And we’ll be counting the days until we leave for Wide Sky Days in San Diego! Yippeee!
Matt spent the day with them giving instruction on their new home while I entertained the girls around Boulder. They are leaving tomorrow morning to drive back home to Austin, Texas. And the funny thing is that Matt is FLYING to Austin tomorrow morning! It just so happened that the truck we’re buying to replace this one is in Austin. Crazy.
Oh the excitement! Good Vibrations was our very first unschooling conference…and it just happened to be in one of our favorite places in the country, San Diego! We made plans and more plans and at one point it looked like Matt wasn’t going to be able to join us due to work conflicts, but he was able to come a few days late and we were able to celebrate life together as a family!
Upon arriving at the hotel, I was reunited with one of my favorite people ever and a dear friend, the fabulous Tiffani. And at her side, hoop master mama Brianna. This was my first time meeting Brianna after hearing about her and “knowing” her on Facebook. We hit it off immediately and the three of us had way too much fun. The entire weekend after that point was a blur of laughter, hooping bliss, poolside margaritas (well, not me obviously… but I lived vicariously), and oh yeah…how could I forget? Unschooling inspiration!
There were so many amazing speakers at this conference…such wisdom from seasoned unschoolers. This room always had my favorite sessions…roundtable is definitely more my style than a classroom setup. Tiffani was leading a discussion on “play” in this photo. And true to her style, she handed out wigs for everyone to wear
I thought that I would go to a lot more of the workshops than I did…but we ended up “UNconferencing” a bit I had rich, relational experiences with friends just sitting around the pool and talking about our unschooling and real life. We learned so much by watching and soaking up each different family’s style of parenting. Every one has different ideas and ideals and how they live it out is so interesting. Much more fun than reading about their lives online Matt was able to attend several of the “Dads sessions” and came away feeling more informed and confident in his role as an unschooling dad. It was fun to hear about all the great discussions that they had.
We weren’t the only ones making new friends. Within a few minutes of registering, Lucy struck up a friendship with Grace, another little girl at the conference. Every time she saw her, she would exclaim…”FRIEND!!”
Speaking of FRIENDS…we also got to hang out with Mike Hedge after not seeing him since Texas. He was the official photographer for the event…and he did an amazing job! (He has posted nearly 1,000 photos of the conference here). And I finally got to meet a blog friend, Jess, who is currently living in Japan! She brought her mom with her and she and MY mom hit it off and had many long talks/walks while they were there.
Bella reveled in the freedom that came along with being at the conference. She went by herself to sessions that she was interested in and loved being with her new friends in their hotel rooms and around the pool. It was great to see her blossom in so many ways while we were there. She had good conversations with girls who had experienced public school prior to unschooling…so good for her to hear their thoughts first hand.
This was our beach potluck that got moved back to the hotel after a power outage. It affected all of Southern California for 12 hours and caused a sewage spill at the beach (among other problems!) We didn’t mind though…what could be better than crowd-sourced food, sunshine, and friends!? We just pressed on…and we all breathed a sigh of relief at 2am when our lights and air conditioners popped back on!
My mom came with us so that I would have extra help…and she and Lucy had lots of fun around the pool and playing dress up! Both girls could not get enough of the water…the common cry from our room was “let’s go to the pool!” With every day consisting of sunshine and 80 degrees, we gladly obliged.
The pool area was a constant hooping mecca…there was always some hoop action going on somewhere. So much fun. As a side note, I ran into Baxter and his friend Kara the day we arrived as we all hooped poolside. So random. They were there decompressing from Burning Man…although I’m not sure how relaxing it was with all of us crazy unschoolers running around the hotel!
On the last night, Matt, Tiffani, Brianna, and I went to a delish little Mexican joint near Torrey Pines State Beach…and then we headed over for a sunset photo shoot.
When we got there, we were reminded not to touch the poop water
The day we left, we headed up to Encinitas and played at Moonlight State Beach. Perfect sunshine. Perfect moments. So thankful. We’re already dreaming of next year! I leave my heart in California every time I fly away…
On May 24, a sweet blog reader by the name of Jen emailed me and asked if our rig was still for sale. I almost didn’t write her back. After 6 months of going back and forth with “serious buyers” only to be disappointed in the end…I was starting to lose my enthusiasm about it all. But I DID WRITE HER back and the rest is history.
You are looking at the new owners of our Veggie Oil Powered Alpine Coach! We couldn’t be more thrilled about handing the keys over to Jen, Jared, and their adorable family. It will be well-loved and will go many exciting places!
We spent a couple of days together after they arrived in Longmont…talking, laughing, enjoying each other’s company…finding we all have so much in common. It was a sweet time of fellowship and play.
A clean slate…ready for it’s new family to move in!
Matt shares some final pointers on the veggie oil system.
Fire it up! The kids were ecstatic as they all piled into their new home. They have a long trip back to California, where they will live in the RV and prepare to hit the open road. We are so full of gratitude not only to have a buyer for our RV, but also for new friends that we will surely have for a lifetime.
And of course…it’s been 7 months since we moved into our little house in Longmont, so you know it’s about time to move out (TRY to act surprised!) No really. We are. This lovely Keystone Montana fifth wheel is going to show up at our house around noon today!
We will jump right into remodeling and will move in by the end of the month. We aren’t hitting the road though…just going to live in it and park ourselves around the front range while Matt continues to work in Boulder. We just really LOVE living small and changing up our view once in awhile! There are several nice long-term parks in the area with playground/pool/other kids.
And now you know why I haven’t been blogging too much lately! We’ve been in a sea of crazy and it’s going to be even more fast-paced as Matt goes into his busiest season of the year with his job. We would love your prayers and warm thoughts as we make this exciting transition.
Can’t wait to show you all the inside when it’s done…it’s the best fifth wheel layout I’ve seen in a long time! I picked out paint tonight. Flooring tomorrow. Weeeeeeee!! Thanks for coming along for the ride…
P.S. We still have room for guests! Come and visit us in Colorado!
Hey all you gypsy souls…the RV is still for sale! We’ve had several serious parties, but each have had their own little road blocks come up at the last minute that prevented the purchase. So, it’s still anybody’s game We’ve had probably 35-40 inquiries about it so far…but I don’t have a list in order of inquiry. So, if you’re one of those interested, please email us at janssenfamily (at) gmail (dot) com.
- Custom remodeled, family-friendly traveling machine!
- 40 feet long x 8 feet wide
- Diesel Pusher (engine is located in the rear, under the bed)
- 350HP Cummins Engine
- Peak chassis
- Veggie Oil Conversion: Green Eye Auto Custom Installation
- 185 gallon veggie oil tank, in addition to the 100 gallon diesel tank
- On-board gathering and filtration system (see video below)
- One slide out (living room)
- King bed in rear
- Custom bunk area (could be converted to adult sized bunks)
- Couch converts to a very comfortable Queen (foam / not springs)
Includes the following:
- All window coverings and furnishings
- Full training on veggie system
- 3 months of phone/email support
Check out this video to see how we filtered the oil on the road…
Oh where to begin? There is much to tell and my heart is full. So without further ado, I give you…the big life update.
We moved into a rental house in Longmont, Colorado on December 31. This little house couldn’t be more perfect. I know, I know…how do we find these places, right? It was built in 1910, but it’s been remodeled nicely and has paint colors that jive with our style already. It’s in a perfectly wonderful part of town…close to parks, the library, and most importantly, the Thai restaurant. Oh, did I mention the adorable little backyard that is perfect for entertaining and hooping? See the tour here.
Matt is working in Boulder for my brother’s company, and it’s just a short drive away with mountain views the entire way. It’s been different having him gone all day at work, but we are slowly adjusting and finding our new rhythm after 4 years of having him at home. I’ll be writing more about that soon.
I am looking forward to doing more photography…if you are in the area, I’d love to do your family/child/engagement photos. And please share my website with your friends!
Speaking of friends It’s not often that you can move to a completely new community and have an instant network of friends…but that’s exactly what we have here. Some of our dearest and oldest friends, Kris and Natalie, live here. Natalie knows me so completely. We’ve been through the highest highs and the lowest lows of life together. Oh how I love her!
Kris and Matt are like two peas in a pod. Both towering over the general population at 6’6″…they make quite the pair. We’ve been creating memories together since our college days…and we’re all looking forward to making many more!
They have been out here for about 5 years planting house churches…and we will be jumping right in alongside them. Matt led worship this last week and again this week. He has missed that so much. We’re excited to be plugged back into a home church community.
I also have a slew of blog friends that live in the Denver metro area…and I already have plans to meet up with many lovely ladies. My brother, Scotty, is now working in Boulder too…it’s been so great seeing him all the time. My brother Dan, and Jess are here often as well. AND…my aunt/uncle/cousins live in Denver…so we have no shortage of family here!
Longmont is just a fun place to be. And with a population of almost 90,000, there is a lot to do. There is a wonderful rec center with an indoor water park, there are yoga studios, tons of parks, museums, great shops and restaurants. Denver is just 45 minutes away and Boulder is just 20 minutes away. Or, we can go north to Loveland or Ft. Collins! Or all of beautiful Colorado for that matter.
The hooping community here is also amazing. I have many friends from Hoopcamp who live here and attend different jams all over the area. There is always something “hoopy” going on…including the upcoming Spin Summit! Woooo!
Longmont also has a strong network of homeschoolers and learning opportunities abound.
Need I go on? It’s pretty much the perfect place for us right now. Which leads me to the next thing…
Our hearts are settled and we love it here. We never planned on traveling full-time forever…although we will always call ourselves “travelers”. It’s funny…we never thought we would end up in this area. But God has a way of changing things up when you least expect it. Some of you may wonder how we can “give it all up”. Especially when life on the road seems so perfect. But it’s time. It’s time to slow it down. Create community. Give our girls some roots. Make new traditions.
Will we miss our life on the road? Of course. Is this a HUGE change for us? Yes.
We will miss meeting up with so many amazing people…BUT, there are still new people to meet and new experiences to have right here at “home”. We have a new life, a new normal, and a new vision for our future. And someday when the time is right, we will travel again.
For the rest of you…flights into Denver are cheap! Come and visit! Oh, and there are 2 houses for rent on our street. Who wants to be my neighbor?
As I write this, we are driving across Nebraska on our way back to see family for the holidays. It’s been a LONG (and wonderful) couple of weeks making the trek from California (which included a small snow storm in Vail, CO), but I just had to share one of the most recent highlights.
Last year, I met up with Tiffani for the first time when our paths crossed in Las Vegas. This year, I was supposed to go to L.A. and spend tons of time exploring the big city and taking photos and just being besties in general…BUT, life happened and we had to bypass L.A. and head East earlier than planned.
I was SO disappointed that we would not get to connect…but when I emailed her about it, we both realized that we would be in Vegas AGAIN at the same time. Oh the joy! We were able to spend a bliss-filled afternoon chatting and letting the kids run wild. California Pizza Kitchen. Shopping at H & M + dancing to hip hop music in the dressing rooms…giggling all the while. And don’t forget the boba! Be sure to watch our silly video above.
I pretty much ADORE Tiffani and wish that I could magically transport her to wherever I happen to be…but for now, I will take what I can get Be sure to read her account of our visit here and check out her fabulous (and I mean fabulous) blog. And look at her pretty pictures.
Now that we are almost done driving for awhile, I have big plans to blog more and I have several REALLY COOL giveaways planned. Stay tuned!
Have a great weekend…I’m off to celebrate my birthday!
Ever since we left Portland last November, I have been looking forward to going back. For many reasons, but mostly to see my sweet friends Monica and Shauna and to go see Stephanie, The Dread Goddess. When we broke down in Spokane, we lost an entire WEEK of good times in PDX…so so so sad. BUT, I did make it in time for our girls day out and will get to spend a week enjoying all that this beautiful city has to offer.
We started the day at Pix Patisserie…a delightful little coffee/sweets shop. They even grind their own hazelnuts into a paste for lattes. Wow. Then we walked across the street and I grabbed a bite of breakfast at Tasty and Sons. Another wow. I ordered up an amazing orange curry glazed potatoes and egg dish and devoured it all. Yum. We arrived at our favorite spot, Akemi Salon with full tummies.
Stephanie was there waiting for us and got right down to business. One of the things I miss the most about having dreads is having someone else mess with my hair. Coloring, cutting, coiffing. Yes, I loved being pampered. So now I have made it a yearly tradition to trek to Portland to see Stephanie. Stephanie is one of the few people I trust implicitly with my dreads…and I can just relax in her chair and chat away about life and love and rainy days.
There are great magazines and books to read…including a lovely book completely dedicated to typographical tattoos *swoon*. Sitting on the sweet orange couch, there is hot tea available…to accompany the sounds of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and ethereal French music playing in the background. We enjoyed many hours of blissed out dready sisterhood.
After hugs and goodbyes, we headed to MeeSen Thai. This little Thai eatery…with it’s open garage-door front (this seems to be commonplace in Portland), decorative glass water pitchers with metal cups, and super friendly waiters won my heart immediately. We had fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce and pad thai for all. Seriously delicious with an amazing vibe.
I was sad to see them go…but not for long! We’re all meeting up at the Saturday Market. My sister, Laura, flew into town today from Minneapolis and we’re driving to Cannon Beach for the weekend. Yay! More fun to come!
There is an entire photo set to peruse here. And the question of the day is:
“If you’ve been to Portland, what was your very favorite thing?”
Happenings in Month 7:
- This is the first month that we’ve actually been in the same location as last month! We are going on 8 weeks in Colorado…and have loved every minute! Four of those weeks have been spent in Golden…and we will really miss this community when we leave. It kind of feels like we live here. We know we’ve been in one place for awhile when the locals know who we are, when we can’t go downtown without running into someone we know, and when we already have “weekend traditions”. We have plans to head to Bozeman next week after Matt’s job here is done, and we are really looking forward to that!
- My mom and dad just couldn’t stay away, and within 10 days of leaving us the first time, they were back out here for another week. We had TONS of fun…again We rented bikes and biked all over Golden…it was so awesome to not worry about packing us into 2 cars to go downtown. Instead we just pedaled our way there! I’m in love with bikes.
- My brother, Daniel, also flies out from Minneapolis quite a bit for business, and we’ve loved seeing him!
- Bella has made so many friends here…she has been to a birthday party, and regularly goes to the park or the creek with friends and their families. She is growing up before our very eyes…and yet, there are moments when I look into her eyes and see that sweet little 2 year old looking back at me. She loves fashion and dressing up. Makeup and nail polish and such are beloved items. Although, she is very much a “tomboy”, so it’s a nice mixture Sometimes I will ask her to hold my hand while crossing the street. Sometimes she will, but most of the time she wants to do it all on her own. My heart only breaks a little bit. Luckily, I have another little girl who is just starting to want to hold my hand.
- Lucy is changing daily and becomes more and more adventurous all the time. I can’t turn my back for a SECOND in the RV because: she likes to make “art” on the leather couch with pen, she stands on top of the table/counter/dash, she plays in the toilet, she unloads drawers and then sits in them, and she throws things out the window. Oh, and she likes to take her diaper off. She is at the age where she KNOWS what she wants, but doesn’t have the words for it. She knows some sign language, but it is still hard sometimes. It’s like an all day game of charades…but she totally amazes us at what she understands.
It’s been a great month…and we are looking forward to an amazing fall as we head West to Oregon and California. Weeeeeeee!