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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

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Keeping busy on Lilly's - and our country's - birthdays

a beautiful Lilly colored bouquet

I'm thankful that there is so much to do on Lilly's birthday/Independence Day.  Staying busy and distracted make the day fly by and keeps me from brooding and getting too sad.  (Keeping busy and doing special things for others is a great way to beat depression in general!)

Lilly is buried a couple hours east of us.  Frank is from that area and still has family there.  So we packed up and went for a short visit.

We arrived Friday just in time for lunch at our family's very favorite place to eat.  Frank's sister Ginger owns Gingerbread Bakery & O'Neals Snack Bar in Belhaven, NC.  Frank's mother, sister Nikki and her husband Dennis, met us there.  They are big fans of Ginger's cooking too!

Solomon tried a highly recommended strawberry cupcake for dessert and added his approval:

After lunch, we went to the store to buy 5 birthday balloons to release at Lilly's grave the next day.  Unfortunately there wasn't much to choose from.  We ended up with 2 birthday balloons - both of which said feliz cumpleanos (happy b'day in Spanish) - 2 star shaped balloons (one pink, one blue), and 1 red heart shaped balloon that said "I Love You."  Hmmmm.

Lilly's birthday aka Independence Day aka the 4th of July was hot and sunny.  We headed to Belhaven for the parade.  We waited for it to start in the wonderful a/c and atmosphere of Ginger's Bakery (which was closed to everyone else).  While there Solomon sampled a chocolate cupcake.  He recommends this kind too:

Ready for the parade to begin!

It was so bright, you had to wear shades ...

The boys loved the old tractors.  This John Deere was Hunter's favorite:

Solomon and I liked the creepy gorilla best:

The float of the Pantego Historical Museum (my mother-in-law is the current president for it):

Just a plug for the museum - they are having a Fall Days/Farm Ways Community Festival on October 10.  We really enjoyed going to it last year, and even met Blackbeard the pirate!  (See my post here.)

 What's a parade without a stilt walker or grown men in little funny cars?

After the parade, we headed to the Pantego Historical Museum for a hot dog lunch.  I love the old historical school building:

Pantego Academy was in operation from 1874-1907.  Then it was Pantego High School from 1907-1981.  The museum has all sorts of interesting displays from both school life and the life of the locals, from the past.  There is also has a new gift shop area. Tabby and I were proud that the gift shop's first sale was ... two bars of our goat milk soap!  (Those are 2 Lilly-colored ruffle scarves for sale too, made by Tabby).

A cheerful student:

I love the old chicken waterers:

Tabby was able to eek out a little music on the old pump organ:

Proof that I was actually on this trip:

After that we went back to my mother-in-law's so Solomon could take a much needed nap.  Then we went to supper at Ginger's house.  Disaster struck on the way when we put down some windows to let mosquitos out and THREE of Lilly's birthday balloons flew right out the window!  Oh that was so so sad.  And I was so angry at myself for not making sure they were tied down securely inside the car.

That was seriously NOT part of the plan.  :(

But a birthday cake for Little Firecracker was:

I'm so thankful for relatives that don't mind having a party for Lilly with us.

After supper and some play time, we headed to Washington, to Lilly's grave.  We sent her up the remaining two balloons:

Finally, it was time for fireworks.  We stayed in Washington and after searching for awhile, found parking near the estuarium.  We walked out onto a pier on the Pamlico River to watch the fireworks.  Tabby got some really good pictures of the fireworks and I'll post them on her next photography post, later this week.

And that was that.  Lilly's 5th birthday celebrated all day long.

I am so grateful for the messages, emails, and cards we received from people remembering Lilly.  Here are a few pictures from people that I can share.  The first is Lilly's name written in the sand in Port Huron, Michigan.  It was sent to me by the big sister of Faith.  (Faith is a 6 year old girl living with Trisomy 18.  Her blog is here.)

Port Huron, Michigan
The other is Lilly's tree in ... Israel!  A family that lost a daughter with Trisomy 18, and I believe son with Trisomy 13, planted memorial cherry trees in their yard for their children and for Lilly.  :)  Here is Lilly's tree from winter and spring:

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." - Psalm 34:18

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


  1. It was a beautiful birthday celebration and I am honored to have opportunity to participate!

    1. It was so great having you and Dennis come up from Alabama and visit at the same time we were there! Sort of like the old river house days. Wish we lived closer!

  2. was lilly's special crape myrtle, "dynamite," blooming on her birthday? would love to see a picture of it.

    1. Well since we weren't home, I don't know. Today it has 3 tiny blossoms on it. I will wait a few days and take a photo.

    2. hmmm.....we planted two "Dynamites" this spring in honor of her. they are covered in blooms. hope hers blooms big!

  3. What a beautiful post. I loved all the pictures, and hearing about the area you live in, and the wonderful bakery! It looks like Solomon has exquisite taste! AND how cool is that, that the gift shop sells your goat soap? I would love to try some. I think the way you celebrated Lilly's birthday is just lovely, and what a blessing to have family to celebrate with. The sand picture and the tree.....what gifts. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post. :)

    1. We actually live about 2.5 hrs. from the places in this post. We buried Lilly with family - she is next to Frank's sister that died in her teens, and across from his father who died several months before Lilly did. I'm so glad she's with family. And ... that I don't have to pass by her grave every time I go out somewhere.
      It helps having my mother-in-law be president of that museum! It was her idea to do the gift shop, I think. :)
      I'm going to send you a bar of soap, when I get a chance. We love to share it with anyone that is interested - and you said the magic words! It's goat milk soap and the milk is from our own goats that Tabby milks each morning.

    2. Really? That would be wonderful! <3 I would love to try it!
      It sounds like you picked the perfect location for Lilly.....close enough to visit, and with family, too. It's really neat that your mother-in-law supports your soap making business. How cool is that?

  4. Looks like a lovely day celebrating, how I wish your little firecracker was there with you. Love your selfie, great way to get in the family album:)