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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Monday, July 7, 2014


First, the winner of the two Lilly colored pillowcases in honor of Lilly's birthday was Sandra A.:

Thanks to everyone that participated in the drawing!  And thank you Cassie for making the pillowcases for me.  Check out Cassie's blog - - for other pillowcases and things she has for sale.  :)

a new lily blossom opened yesterday in Lilly's garden
"Tradition, tradition!  Tradition!
Tradition, tradition!  Tradition!"

Well those are the only lyrics I remember from the song "Tradition" from the old musical Fiddler on the Roof.  But those words have been stuck in my head the past few days.

As most of you are aware, Hurricane Arthur swept of the eastern coast last week.  It was supposed to hit the day we were to leave for our now traditional annual trip to Lilly's grave.  Lilly celebrated her first birthday with us, but as her last two have been in heaven, we have gone to stay with my mother-in-law, who lives near the town where Lilly is buried.  (Lilly is close to 3 hours from us.)  We leave home on the eve of July 4th, stop at the Dollar Tree in Washington, NC and buy Lilly's birthday balloons, and then meet my mother-in-law at my sister-in-law's bakery/grill in Belhaven for lunch.  Then the next morning, we go to the town of Belhaven's 4th of July parade.  After that there is a family cookout at one of our relatives house, and after eating, we all sing "happy birthday" to Lilly and eat birthday cake.  Then we pack up and head for home, stopping at Lilly's grave on the way to leave her a gift and send up balloons to her in heaven.

Obviously only doing that for two years in a row does not make it a set in stone tradition.  But it is a routine that gives us comfort.   And last week, when Hurricane Arthur threatened to change these plans, I was quite thrown off.

I bought the metal patriotic owl for Lilly's birthday this year, to take to her grave
After a number of discussions, weather map watching on the computer, and some prayer, we decided to make the trip as usual.  But we didn't decide that until Thursday morning.  Which meant one thing was already not following our traditions pattern.  I had not made the traditional angel food cake I had made the past two years.

At breakfast that morning I told the family about the cake issue and said I could just make it when we got back home the evening of the 4th.  Tabby spoke up and was adamant that we have a cake with the relatives because "that's what we've always done!"   As we discussed it, I realized that the cake tradition was Tabby's favorite part of the Lilly's-birthday-tradition.  Frank said we could buy a cake.

So off we went.  First stop:  bought 4 balloons at the Dollar Tree in Washington.

Next stop:  Gingerbread Bakery & O'Neals Snack Bar in Belhaven to meet my mother-in-law for lunch.  YUM.  My sister-in-law seriously makes the BEST double cheeseburger I've ever had.  Tabby can't get enough of her vegetable beef soup.  The boys devour her chicken chunks  And if only we could eat every dessert she had for sale ....

Lunch was the same tradition.  But what followed after was different!  We helped prepare the place in case the coming hurricane hit hard.  (Last time there was one, water came inside and was standing several feet high.)

Solomon outside Gingerbread Bakery
Next we stopped in the local Food Lion to buy a birthday cake.  It originally had a variety of bright colored candies on top.  Frank had the idea of replacing them with red and blue M&Ms, to make a red-white-blue cake.  Here is what the cake looked like after I did just that:

I wrote "Lilly" with a gel icing pen
That evening, the hurricane hit.  But it wasn't bad.  It was thunderstorms with high (but not terribly high) winds.

The Fourth of July parade in Belhaven had already been canceled and rescheduled for Saturday.  That was rather disappointing that the parade part of our tradition wasn't going to happen as usual.  We found things to do at my mother-in-laws house instead:

Lunch was at my sister-in-laws house and we had cake after.  Tabby lit the candles and Hunter blew them out.  Tradition.

Next we went to Lilly's grave.  I staked her owl down and tied the butterfly birthday balloon to it.

Then I found out Hunter's favorite part of the Lilly birthday tradition.  Watching his balloon for her go "up up up."

As for me, I was just happy that we got to be at Lilly's grave.  I like to check on it and clean it up.  I was surprised to find that the pink spring tree I had left for her in March looked awful.  The ornaments were all bloated and warped, and the tree was no longer pink but silver.  Yuck.  It was NOT pretty for my pretty little girl.  I'll add that to my list of what does not work for a grave decoration.  Hopefully the owl will last until fall:

Traditions.  There can be so much comfort in them.

But I have learned, this time around, that I need to be prepared to change them if necessary!

"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." - Psalm 119:76

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