The Happy Janssens

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Unexpected Connections

Oregon is one of those places where we just wanted to stay and stay and stay. We had already been there during our first tour, and had a this time we wanted to see some different stuff. We traveled through the Columbia River Gorge...which is beautiful (and sometimes claustraphobic), and came out on the other side into a city we love, Portland.

(L to R: Jessamyn, Sara, Denise, Stephanie)
We set out on a very rainy Saturday morning...our first stop was to meet up with a friend I had met online but never in person, Denise...aka Boho Girl. She had flown up to Portland from San Diego to meet her friend, Jessamyn, and everyone was going to Akemi Salon for dread maintenance with Stephanie, "The Dread Goddess". I was up for that! We had an amazing time ... even though it was just for a short visit. The love and acceptance in that place was sunshine to my soul! It set the stage for even more fun with these ladies in San Diego and Phoenix (more on that later!).

(L to R: Shauna, Monica, Sara)
We spent the rest of the day exploring...lunch at Laughing Planet, cupcakes at Saint Cupcake, and a quick stop at REI. As we were heading out the door that morning, my friend Monica whom I had known for several years online had messaged me on Facebook because she saw that we were in Portland. It didn't work for us to meet up during the day, but as the day was coming to a close, we connected again via texts...and made plans for her and another one of my online friends, Shauna, to meet us back at the RV that night. And oh we had such fun! The next day, Monica and her friend Ryan (who just happens to be an amazing photographer...yay) met us at Imago Dei and then we went out for Thai food together.

This is why I love technology. If not for that quick message on FB and that text, we may have never met up with Monica and Shauna. But we did. And these two amazing women have become dear, dear friends over the past couple of months since we were together there. 
It makes my heart all warm just typing this. Monica is an amazing mama to 2 and works with YWAM in Salem, OR...and Shauna is the mastermind behind Mama's Herbal Soaps. If you haven't tried her amazing to her site now!

Before leaving Portland, we spent time with some of Matt's extended family, and enjoyed catching up with them. The next day we headed south to Eugene to start our 3rd veggie oil conversion in 2 years!

Photos of Portland are here.
Photos are available for comment on Flickr.


French Pastries and Friends


How can you not love a town called Walla Walla? It makes me really happy happy. I went there to hug my Ali Ali. Ali and I are both photographers and we connected online long before we met the first time around the country. We stayed with Ali and her family in June 2008 and of course, had to go back this time on our way to Eugene.

We had a blast sharing meals, talking about life, kids, and photography. Ali is an amazing can see her work here. She continually inspires me with her creative eye. She also took me to a sweet little patisserie called Colville St. Patisserie. It was there that I tasted a french pastry for the first time. An amazing little caramel thing with sea salt on top. Paired with my decaf soy caramel latte and I was in heaven.

Ali has two kiddos...and Bella was thrilled to have kids to play with who were close to her age! We will definitely be back.

Photos from Walla Walla here.
Photos are available for comment on Flickr.


Lucia Squared

It was a busy Halloween night in downtown Missoula, but that didn’t stop us from parking our house right in the thick of it for a little Thai food with friends. We met Mike and Kate at and enjoyed some delicious eats. 

We spent the next couple of days winding down from our whirlwind 2 weeks transitioning out of Bozeman. It was so nice to just breathe the crisp Montana air and be with people we love…while enjoying the amazing scenery. We had long leisurely meals and conversation with Mike and Kate...they had recently moved from Bozeman up to Missoula and we missed their going away bash, so we were so glad to spend time with them.

My cousin, Michelle, and her kids (Silas and Lucia) came down to hang out for the day. It was such fun to see the kids interacting and mostly not killing each other. We don’t see each other often and it was even more special this time because our Lucia’s are so close in age (Michelle’s Lucia is pronounced Loo-sha). Michelle is a massage therapist and doula and we had fun talking about all of our shared interests.

After a beautiful stay, we said goodbye and headed towards Walla Walla, with a stop in Sandpoint, Idaho. The year before, we had promised Matt’s cousin, Jessica, that we would make our way up to her little touristy town of Sandpoint the year before. But it didn’t work out. So we knew we had to go this time!

It was only an hour north of the interstate on our way to Washington. We pulled into a campground for the night and enjoyed dinner and conversation with Jess.  The next morning, we left for Walla Walla, WA! 

Photos from Missoula here.
All photos are available on Flickr for comment here.