Eighteen years ago today, while I was enjoying a chilly, snowy Fall afternoon visit to my boyfriend’s hometown to visit his family, he was planning on changing my life. The idea was to take a bike ride through his childhood neighborhood so he could show me his beloved Donna Drive home. We walked to the backyard creek area and started a chat that turned into a marriage proposal. I felt like the most blessed girl in the world when I accepted that emerald ring and chose to marry into his family that day. I didn’t have a large, close-knit extended family. We didn’t have big holiday gatherings with grandparents and cousins gathering from all over. It was the four of us and it was great. But on November 12, 1995, I got a partner in life AND that crazy, loud, big extended family, and I’m so grateful for that day!