Last week we headed off for Chicago to visit family and have some party time! Craig and his family were coming in from Oregon to go to a baptism of Amy's nephew. A few months ago we had decided to make it a "kill many birds with one stone" type of visit. Phil and his girls and Jack (son) and his family decided they would come too, since it's been over 2 years since they last saw Craig. Craig had suggested that we also could celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Our anniversary isn't until August, but hey, I'm game for celebrating early! My sister got all excited because she wanted to put together an "event" as I call them. Pretty decorations, tons of food, family and also tons of work for her. I was hesitant about that part. I just wanted simple, low key. But I'm not one to rain on anyone's parade so I let her have her way with us! She's amazing. Besides all the planning and doing and cooking and freezing food ahead, she and my brother Greg and her son Bill redid my Mom's kitchen....which looks awesome! Craig had put together a sweet DVD for us of pictures from 40 years of our married life. It turned out great! Everyone loved it and the music he chose. As I watched the movie and then all the events of this past week and weekend, I couldn't help but notice that our lives are caught in the one second of a camera click. In that one second you could see the joy, the fun, the sometimes sadness, the silliness, the family trips, the gatherings, the ones who are no longer with us, and the ones who have gone from newborn to all grown up with newborns of their own. There were a lot of one second happenings going on this weekend. The weather that had been picture perfect since Memorial Day decided it was time for storms. We fought time and weather as we put tents up for a "just in case" moment for Saturday's party which started at 5pm. It was a beautiful Friday and a lovely Saturday...until 6pm when the rain, tornado and flooding occurred! Anyone who knows me knows Mother Nature loves to pull this on any outdoor event I want to have. Dang her! We gathered all the kiddos and families and took group pictures right up until the rains hit. We pulled all the food indoors and all the 50 or so family members squished into Mom's little house. The house with the amazing growing walls that encompassed us growing up. All 6 kiddos and Grandparents who lived with us at times. All in a home with 3 bedrooms and one bath until a fire destroyed the upper floor and then when it was redone another bath and bedroom were added. No extra family room, formal dining, media room, or finished basement...in fact, that house has no basement. No huge kitchen with an island that you could skateboard on. But somehow we managed to live and laugh and love as the saying goes. Everyone was always welcome and nobody ever left or, I should say, leaves my Mom's home hungry! The walls seem to expand and gather us and hug us and make us happy to be there. We're not a perfect family by any means. Everyone has their struggles and the imperfections that make us individuals of interest. I'm going to share a few of my "one second" moments. I'm so grateful for all that was done for Jack and I and all the family that arrived and wished us well. These forty years have gone fast. It truly seems like only a second ago that my kids were little, my Mom had dark hair, I was thinner, Jack's hair was bushier, my Dad was still living, and my dreams about my future were just forming. Click...one second. Picture perfect.