The happiest place on earth is just inside my ribcage.

Yes, I feel cheesy enough right now to write an embarrassing blog title.

I can’t remember a time when we lived close to family. Visits to see my grandparents and cousins were special occasions – holidays or birthdays, always bookended with long car rides home. In some ways, the distance forced us to make the time together more meaningful with longer hugs, more elaborate meals, more “I love you”s. I’ve always felt a deep love for and from my family…but I’ve also felt far away from them.

As an adult living half a country away, with (wonderful) in-laws living in a whole other region altogether, it’s only gotten harder to bridge that gap.

But sometimes, amazing nuggets of opportunity to connect with family pop up – like this last weekend.  I got to spend time with my cousins Bianca and Laurel, Laurel’s boyfriend Adam, and our baby cousin Nichole. And, for once, living in Southern California worked in my favor because we all met here so we could go to DISNEYLAND. Plus, we got to spend that day with some of my west-coast friend-family – Beck, Ben, Mike and Jessie.

You know that feeling you get right after you open a present on Christmas morning and it’s exactly what you wanted? I had that feeling all weekend.

We got to be silly and have fun, and we got to indulge one little girl and make her feel like a princess all weekend.

Nichole and Bianca - The coldest beach visit EVER.

A thoughtful moment.

*grin*

So much conviction. So much pretty.

The obligatory teacup ride.

Seconds after I took this picture she said,"That was probably my best smile ever!"

The best part is that this is turning in to a full week of family time. Tomorrow, James and I are going to celebrate our second anniversary with wine and scrabble. On Wednesday, I’ll be flying home to Missouri to spend some time with my parents while my mom is on spring break. I’m going to get to play pool with my Grandpa in Nebraska and spend some sweet time with my Grandma in Iowa. My heart is a deep down kind of happy.

(You can see some of Beck’s awesome pictures of the friends on her blog post here. Somehow, I didn’t get many publishable pictures of the friends – I’m guessing since my camera was trained on Nichole all day. The testament of my friendship is that I’m NOT going to post the most awesome picture of Jessie ever, featuring her showing us how to properly eat a bread bowl.)

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5 thoughts on “The happiest place on earth is just inside my ribcage.

  1. cheekypinky

    I love you with my whole heart.

    And that Nicole is the most awesome five-and-a-half-year-old ever.

    (Which I can say now that my nieces and nephew are No Longer Five.)

    Reply
  2. Ayesha

    Aww, this makes my heart melt. The two best pictures are of James and Nichole. I guess I take for granted that my family is mostly nearby, and I feel like seeing them only less than once a month is a tragedy. Next time I see them, I will definitely take time to treasure the moments. In fact, my cousin is now visiting from Seattle, and I am trying my darnedest to spend time with her. We are also going to Disneyland on Friday. =)

    Reply
    1. Laura Jane Post author

      Hehe, I LOVE that picture of Nichole. You’re a pretty lucky girl to have family so close – enjoy your time with your cousin! (And Disneyland!)

      Reply
  3. Mia

    My youngest was 10 mtnhos old when I started TWD. I dont know what I was thinking. However, all my boys have joined in on the baking madness at some point in the last 4 years. I hope I am creating memories for them of us baking special stuff together.Your loaves look just perfect. And while I am not a huge fan of white bread either, I really enjoyed this bread. It made killer PB&Nutellas for the boys.

    Reply

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