Friday, April 5, 2013

Lily's 3rd Birthday Celebration!

"March 16th, I don't think there are any words that could follow this date. It's become a meaning of its own. It's this day that changed our lives forever because of dear Lily Katherine. While you were a life giver to her, she was and is a bringer of spiritual life through the redemptive story of King Jesus. What a beautiful soul sent for a beautiful purpose." ~my best friend, Kala (who always says such beautiful, amazing, quotable things about Lily)

March 16th was Lily's 3rd birthday in Heaven. The day was so special and beautiful and I want to share all the photos and memories. It is really important to me to document each of my girl's birthdays, both to remember forever myself and to share with others. Lily is so loved and missed by so many people and I want to share all the ways she was honored for her special day. :-) This was Lily's best birthday yet! And I truly believe it will only get better as the years pass because more people will know her story and I will come up with more ideas. I also have more energy around her birthday as each year passes.

Just so everyone reading knows, this is a super long post...I considered breaking each thing down into individual posts, but decided to keep it all in one post like I did for her first two birthdays. That's why it's taken me so long to write this post - because it's more like several posts in one.

Again, this year like last year, I had the birthday anticipation the week leading up to Lily's special day. It truly felt like an all-week celebration, especially with her birthday falling on a Saturday this year. The entire week is full of memories...the anniversary of my last ultrasound and appointment and the last time I saw her moving and heard her precious heart beating, the anniversary of the day she went to Heaven, the anniversary of her due date, and her birthday many memories.

On March 14th, we honored and remembered Lily on the anniversary of her due date. This will always be a special date to me. Because she was due on National Potato Chip Day, one of her nicknames was "Spud." And I thoroughly enjoyed hashbrowns throughout my pregnancy! In honor of that day each year, mom makes hashbrowns for us to eat in honor of our sweet little Spud. Many others joined me this year in eating hashbrowns for Lily...thank you to everyone who did that and thanks also to those who sent photos! :-)

That evening, mom and I got together with our neighbors for a special joint-birthday celebration. Over the past year, we have gotten very close with Joanna and her two kiddos. Two years ago, around Lily's 1st birthday, we found out her daughter Ashley shares Lily's birthday! She turned 10 this year. Since we all had our own plans on March 16th, we still wanted to celebrate together. I suggested the 14th since that was Lily's due date. We brought balloons, cute plates, cups, and napkins with butterflies, and delicious snacks. I also brought some of my special keepsake items of Lily's to share with Joanna. Here's a photo of Joanna, Ashley, and I, with Lily's hand and footprints to symbolize the other birthday girl.

Joanna had cake for us all. I brought ten candles for Ashley and a number three candle for Lily.

This was the third year in a row that we gave Ashley a gift for her birthday. Mom and I see it as a sweet way to honor Lily's life and special day...and besides, we really enjoy shopping for little girls! We loved watching Ashley open her gifts and it meant so much to see how she truly loved what we gave her! She made use of her gifts while we were there.


On Lily's birthday, I woke up and felt a deep sadness enveloping me. My mom came into my room and I burst into tears. We both cried together for part of the morning. I didn't sleep well at all and had a dreadful headache from lack of sleep and tears. It was dark and gloomy out, as it always seems to be on her birthday. I had special plans for the day and knew I didn't want to spend the entire day crying. At one point when I was alone, I started heavily sobbing, missing Lily so very much. I don't know how to explain how special, sad, beautiful, and sacred March 16th feels to me. My best friend Kala called me in the morning and the Lord used her to brighten my spirits. She reminded me through my tears that Jesus not only offered me His abundant grace and strength to get through March 16th, 2010...but He will provide that same grace and strength to get through each and every March 16th to come. For the rest of the day, I felt overwhelming peace and joy...yes, there were more tears. But, not overwhelming tears. 

My brother was so kind and brought me Chick-fil-A for breakfast...the chicken minis are my favorite! I thought it was appropriate because I always wanted to eat their for breakfast after my doctor's appointments when I was pregnant with Lily.

This is Lily's "special spot" decorated beautifully for her 3rd birthday! Since I live in NC and she is in VA, my dear friend Elise, who lives in the town where Lily is, offered to decorate and tidy-up Lily's area whenever I ask! She is the sweetest! It's really hard on me living hundreds of miles away and not being able to go myself as often as I'd like, but this is the second-best thing. 

I mailed the things I thought would be nice for Lily's special day and am going to do the same for each season. I got that beautiful butterfly garden flag stand and a 'Happy Birthday' garden flag (which will be switched out for different holidays and seasons). I also got three balloons to symbolize Lily's 3rd birthday - a pink, heart-shaped balloon (special because of my Valentine's-themd baby shower), a 'Happy Birthday' balloon with cupcakes, and a 'Birthday Girl' balloon with a butterfly, ladybug, and flowers. Elise also got beautiful white lilies for my pure Lily!

Thank you so much, Elise, for cleaning up all the Christmas things and decorating her spot just the way I wanted it...and for taking photos for me to see! It means a lot that you would honor and celebrate the sweet birthday girl with me! It brings me peace knowing her spot was decorated for her special day. Not only did I want it looking lovely for her, but also in case she got any birthday visitors. :-) I love all the color, which is appropriate because she brought so much color to my life! Love ya, Elise! ♥ Next year, Lily's permanent headstone will be in place for her 4th birthday, which makes me really happy. :-)


This is Lily's gorgeous 3rd birthday cake - made by my incredibly kind, thoughtful and sweet friend, Alyssa! What made it extra special is our shared love of roses and lilies. Alyssa and her husband also lost a baby girl named Liliana (Lily for short) who was born early, but was due on August 12th - my birthday! They now have their rainbow, a little girl named Olivia Rose! She shares my middle name...and we have the same last name! Olivia is now 8 months old and I have been her nanny since she was 6 weeks old! So many special connections. ♥

The cake was truly the highlight of Lily's day! I requested a heart-shaped red-velvet cake (which is a tradition on Lily's birthday - started on her first birthday because of my Valentine's-themed baby shower), the colors pink and white, and roses and lilies (like the ones in my blog header and three lilies for her 3rd birthday)...and she came up with this beautiful design! 

The cake was not only so pretty, but also delicious! After singing happy birthday to Lily, we thoroughly enjoyed the moist red-velvet, with cream-cheese filling and chocolate ganache! And can I just say this lady has no formal training and is this talented and creative! I said the cake was too pretty too eat. Almost the entire cake (including the flowers) were edible, except for a few small details.

I said it's hard to know what kind of cake to have for an occasion such as this, but THIS is perfect. Such a sweet cake, which is just right for my sweet Lily girl! I didn't know what I wanted the cake to say, but came up with the wording the day Alyssa made it! I couldn't love this cake more, seriously!

This cake has been such a blessing to my family and I! I know it was made with love in honor of my sweet flower and it means more than words can say...Thank you SO much, Alyssa!

I'm so glad to have photos to remember it forever!

Alyssa and I with Lily's gorgeous cake :-)

For Lily's birthday, I and many other people wore pink in her honor. :-) That's her color and it's a tradition to wear pink for her birthdays!


Since eating red-velvet cake is a tradition on Lily's birthdays, I got this red-velvet cupcake candle at Target to light on her birthday each year.


Alyssa brought the cake around 4 p.m., which was close to the minute Lily was born - 4:24 p.m. I wanted to release pretty pink heart-shaped balloons at the exact minute my sweet girl entered the world. Since Alyssa was there, I asked her to join us. She gladly did.

Last year, I had a balloon release for Lily's birthday with several friends, but this year I wanted something more small and intimate. I decided to have the release at my house, in Lily's Memorial was just myself, my family, and Alyssa. I loved the balloons I chose (which I found at Dollar Tree, for anyone interested...that reminds me - the night before Lily's birthday, when I was at the store getting her birthday balloons, there was a family there also shopping in the balloon section. I overheard the little boy say to his mom: "Can I have three balloons since it's my third birthday?" My heart sank. Just like last year when I was getting balloons for Lily's 2nd Heavenly birthday balloon release, there was a family there getting balloons for their little girl's earthly 2nd birthday, it happened again this year that for Lily's 3rd Heavenly birthday balloon release, there was a family getting balloons for their child's 3rd earthly birthday celebration. It's crazy that I heard it because my mom didn't. And that both years, they just so happen to say something right in front of me about the age their child is turning. And out of all days, hours and minutes to be in there, they were there at the exact same time as me. And for it to be the same age both times and for a birthday celebration...rather than a baby shower, anniversary, or any other celebration where people get balloons. hurts my heart when these things happen because I too wish I were throwing a special birthday party for a little girl who is actually here to celebrate...who is actually here to pick out which balloons she likes best, what flavored cake she wants, what theme and colors, and all the other fun things that go into a birthday bash. I wonder how many children I will never meet in this life that would have been Lily's friends. How many kids would have come to her 3rd birthday party, but never could know now what they are missing out on?)

Anyways, my brother recorded the balloon release for me, which I thought was special. It was a really windy day and a couple of the balloons got stuck in a tree on their way up, but eventually broke free. Each year, I want to do something special for Lily's birth minute. I wish I had more photos of all of us at the release, but unfortunately don't. :-( That's what happens when the photographer wants to be in front of the camera for once. ;-)

After the balloon release, we heard the ice cream truck coming! It was such a beautiful day and the first time this year the truck has come through the neighborhood. So, I treated my mom and Alyssa to some ice cream.


For dinner on Lily's birthday, we ate at Cracker Barrel, which is another tradition (if you can't tell, I like traditions!) It is my favorite restaurant and we have gone there for all three of Lily's birthdays. It just has such a cozy environment and the food is delicious!

That evening when we got home from our dinner at Cracker Barrel, I was SO surprised to find these beautiful flowers waiting for me. Three gorgeous lilies for my three-year-old Lily. 

I opened the envelope to find this sweet card from my dear friend Molly Smith from Eden's Wings: "Hannah Rose, Happy Birthday to your beautiful Lily Katherine! I hope that your day is filled with peace and love. Thinking of you today and every day. Big Hugs, Molly"

Thank you, friend! So much. This was so incredibly kind, thoughtful, and sweet. Molly's daughter, Eden, just had her 1st birthday in Heaven two days after Lily's special day - March 18th. Isn't she so thoughtful to do this even with her own daughter's birthday just a couple days away? Molly said she saw these lilies and felt so moved to send them to me. :-)

This means SO much to me and really made Lily's special day extra sweet!! I get to enjoy the beauty of the lilies blooming for a short while, but will have the pictures to remember them forever. They remind me of my own Lily and how she bloomed for such a short time on earth, but she is most definitely blooming with LIFE in Jesus and will for all Eternity...

My mom also gave me a lovely lily plant for Lily's birthday, which will be planted in her Memorial Garden this spring!


This is Owen, my cousin Daniel's son who was born three months before Lily. Our boy and girl would have been the best of buddies and cousins, just like Daniel and I were growing up - we are all sure of it. Daniel is four months younger than me, so they are also a boy and girl cousins and almost the same age apart!

On Lily's first birthday, Daniel sent me a photo of Owen holding a "Happy Birthday Lily" sign. It meant so much to me and I thought how special it would be if Owen took a picture each year on Lily's birthday, wishing her a special day. She would be turning the same age as he is each year. How bittersweet it will be to watch him grow up, changing throughout the years, and to know my daughter will never get to grow up into a lovely lady.

But, this is such a precious way to honor and remember Lily and to have OandL "in a photo together." Owen's mommy Rachel said she told Owen Lily's story in the most simple way she could and he was so empathetic for her. He was really happy to do this for both Lily and I. He was so proud (as you can see by his face) because he wrote all the letters himself! Such a smart and handsome little fella he is. :-) Owen lives several states away and I wish I could see him, Daniel, and Rachel much more often!

Thank you for doing this for me, Rachel. It means more than you could know. I will treasure these photos always. Too bad we missed her 2nd birthday!

I pray Owen will know much more about Lily girl one day...the best buddy he never gets to meet on earth. Maybe one day, when he gets old enough, I'll tell him more about his cousin. I'll tell him all about the adventures that should have been had, the laughs that should have been shared, the joy that a sweet little girl would have brought to his life, had she lived. And maybe he'll know her through me and she will live in his heart and bring him joy still...

You can read a post I wrote about Owen and Lily called "Adventured never to be had" here.

Coloring a rainbow for Lily.
Decorating her birthday card! He wanted lots of color, which I found very appropriate! 
All finished! We love you, Lily!

You can see the pride in his eyes! He knew he was helping you feel better on such a hard day!


My best friend, Kala, gave me the most precious gift for Lily's 3rd birthday! ♥

She crocheted this gorgeous little blanket in her honor (truly, pictures don't do it is so beautiful in person). This past Christmas, Kala crocheted me a turquoise and purple (two of my favorite colors together) blanket, which is so cozy and beautiful and used daily! It also has the perfect colors for my room, so I decorate with it. :-)

Now, she has made this gorgeous, mini blanket for my girl. Each little square has it's own flower, perfect for my Lily - "my little flower," as I call her. Her blanket is so bright and colorful, which is just right because she brings so much beauty and color to my life and the lives of so many. The details on the blanket are so amazingly intricate.

Thank you, my dearest friend! This means SO much to me and makes my heart smile to know how much you love my girl. I know the time, energy, talent, creativity, planning, and love it took to make this creation. I said the only thing that could have made it better is if Lily had a matching one to be buried with. 

I am planning on keeping Lily's special blanket in her memory chest for now, but soon hope to frame it in a shadow box to hang on my wall. One day, I dream of hanging it on the nursery wall of my future child's their big sister can be a part of each day. Kala is going to add a tag on the corner that says, "Lily's Legacy." 

May this beautiful blanket be a symbol of the promise of Lily's legacy...


This is Lily's gorgeous 3rd birthday sunset on March 16th, 2013 on Mullaloo Point near Perth in Western Australia - written by the lovely Carly Marie!

She emailed me on Lily's birthday saying she drew Lily a Pure Spirit Sand Butterfly (perfect for her name, which means "pure and innocent") on her birthday evening and she wrote her name under her birthday sunset! Carly said Lily's birthday evening was beautiful at the beach. What a sweet and thoughtful woman she is! This made Lily's special day extra special :-) ♥

It is neat that Lily's other name in the sand photo by Carly Marie was from 2010 - the year Lily was born and this one is from March 16th - the anniversary of the day she was born!

Lily's gorgeous Pure Spirit Sand Butterfly - also drawn by the lovely Carly Marie on her 3rd birthday! Perfect for my pure baby girl.


My sweet friend Chloé wrote Lily's name in the sand on her 3rd birthday on New Brighton Beach, Christchurch in beautiful New Zealand! This is the first time her name has been written there. As I've said many times before, having Luke's and Lily's names written in the sand all over the world is one of my favorite ways to honor them.

Chloé wrote: "Thinking of you and Lily so much right now. I said a prayer and spent some time thinking of your sweet girl. She is so special, loved, missed and remembered. Happy birthday, sweet Lily Katherine. I'd like to think her and my Hope are celebrating up in Heaven. Love and hugs and prayers"

Thank you so much for thinking of Lily on her birthday, writing her name in the sand, and taking a photo to send to me! It means so much to know Lily is on people's hearts all over the world! I can't wait to share Lily's gorgeous memorial portrait that Chloé is in the midst of drawing for me! :-)

Yes, she is loved, missed, and remembered...always. ♥


Birthday bags from Lily's special day...see the butterflies and flowers? :-)

I wanted to give my mom something special for Lily's birthday because she always helps to make Lily's day sweet for me and she is her only granddarling, as she calls her.

I thought how special it would be for us to have matching necklaces with Lily's footprints on them! I contacted the amazing Celia from In Our Hearts Photo Pendants and she said she could make me matching heart-shaped necklaces like I wanted with her darling little prints. It normally takes several weeks, but she was so kind and sent them to me in time for Lily's birthday. I could barely wait to give it to my mom on Lily's birthday, but didn't want to spoil the surprise. That morning, she opened it and we were both brought to tears with how precious and beautiful it is. And she loves that we have matching necklaces. We both wore ours all day on Lily's birthday and I've worn mine several times since then. I want to get my entire family matching necklaces (even if different shapes) with Lily's prints. 

Thank you so much, Celia, for being so thoughtful and sweet and for getting Lily's necklaces to me so quickly! :-)

Photo from In Our Hearts Photo Pendants facebook page

My dear friend, Laura, sent me such a sweet card and gift for Lily's birthday! She handmade this darling little journal that has lilies on it! I have decided to use it for something very special, rather than a typical journal because I would fill it up far too quickly that is going to be my special little book where I record all the different places I share Lily's life and legacy...whether through speaking or writing. And all the information about when I donate comfort boxes to the hospital and how many, what places I donate in Lily's honor, etc. I think this is the perfect usage for it! I will treasure it always. It's a little book where I will document how God is using Lily's precious LIFE and legacy far and wide! And maybe even other fun things, like places all over the world where her name is written in the sand. :-) Thank you so much, sweet friend! I love it!!


My mom got me the "Never Let Go" sculpture from The Midnight Orange, which I have been wanting for a is made specifically for people who have lost a baby. I chose the colors and couldn't love it more! Isn't it gorgeous?! I will be sharing my other Midnight Orange sculptures's pretty much my new favorite thing! :-) And the beautiful artist behind this sculpture was so very sweet to make sure that it got here for Lily's birthday, even though she wasn't technically taking orders at the time because of how backed-up she was!


My mom gave me a beautiful bracelet for Lily's birthday with a lily of the valley on it. I have been wanting this bracelet (and the rose one) for a long time and she got it for me when we were in D.C. for the March for LIFE in January and visited Mount Vernon (George Washington's home). The bracelet was in the gift shop there...I had to forget about it though until Lily's birthday. ;-)


My awesome Bible study leaders, Veronica and Lisa, read on my blog that St. Patrick's Day reminds me of Lily since she was born the day before and I left the hospital on the holiday. They gave me this pretty St. Patrick's Day windchime, which I love! I haven't decided yet if I want to hang it in my room or in Lily's garden...we shall see. Thank you so much for being so thoughtful and for remembering my girl with me! :-)


These are all the beautiful cards from friends and family...thank you to everyone who was so kind and thoughtful in sending a sweet card. It means so much to me and I will keep them always in Lily's memory chest. The wording of the cards people chose was really meaningful. If you look closely, you can even see a rose and lily on one of the cards I received. :-)

This is the card I picked out for Lily. I was feeling disappointed with the lack of cards that can work for such an occasion. Then, I found this one. It is beyond beautiful and so, so has a flower and butterflies, both of which remind me of Lily. The flower is on the bottom, and turns into a butterfly going into the sky. It reminds me of a quote that reminds me so much of Lily, "A tiny flower, lent not given, to bud on earth and bloom in Heaven." I call her "my little flower" and just like a butterfly has new life, so does Lily. The card says: birthday - a celebration of a life in full bloom. Yes, we celebrate Lily's birthday still because we had the gift in knowing her! And we know that she's blooming with LIFE in Jesus forever! On the inside, it says: "You've grown another year more beautiful." I just added one word to make it just right. It now says: "You're legacy's grown another year more beautiful." This promise I cling to...that her legacy will grow more and more beautiful and impactful with each coming year.


A pretty birthday balloon with flowers for my flower :-) I also got a butterfly balloon, but forgot to get a photo.

Mom put a pink heart-shaped balloon on the mailbox in honor of Lily.

I got some pretty pastel-colored decorations for Lily's birthday.

I made a beautiful display area on the kitchen table, with cards, balloons, Lily's prints, flowers, and other special keepsake items. Also, Lily Bear joined the party, as well as some fun decorations. :-)

Lily Bear in her special outfit, the flowers I received for Lily's birthday, and her cake. Patch the Bear (who is a little bear who travels around the country from one babyloss mama blogger to another) came to visit and was here for Lily's special day! :-) I will be posting a blog about his visit soon. You can see Patch in Lily Bear's lap in this photo.

The pastel-colored plates, napkins, and utensils.


My friend Morgan sent me this adorable picture of her Marcellus Bear and rainbow baby, Ethan, wishing Lily Katherine a happy birthday! ♥ So thoughtful and sweet, friend. Thank you!

Wanted to do something today...just a tiny reminder that so many of us will never forget your beautiful flower!

Thank you, Tracey 

Gale, from Fittsies' Angel Balloons releases customized beautiful balloons of the east coast of North Carolina in honor of babies of Heaven on their special days, like birthdays and takes photos. She made Lily a balloon and released it in her honor! She paid so much attention to detail and decorated it so perfectly. It has roses, lilies, butterflies, a four-leaf clover, Lily's nickname "Spud," and other fun birthday decorations. I LOVE it! Thank you so much, Gale. That is so kind, thoughtful, and sweet of you. Since we both live in NC, I hope to meet in person sometime soon! :-)

I got Lily a Birthday Starfish from The Sacred Seashore. Catherine writes baby's names on a starfish on their birthday or special day and photographs it on a beach in California. She also sent me the starfish, which I will keep in Lily's memory chest. Thank you, Catherine - I love it. :-)

Thank you, Catherine, from Gabriel's Garden

Thank you, Catherine 

Dear Friend ~
I just wanted you to know that I'm thinking of you and your sweet little girl today.  
I hope your day is peaceful and that Lily's birthday in Heaven is spectacular! 
With Love,

Thank you so much! I LOVE this's so perfect for my Lily girl!

Thank you, Catherine 

Taking time tonight to remember...
 Lily ♥

Thank you, Jennifer for lighting a candle for Lily.

Here is her pink velvet cake with a number 3 candle! Wish I could do more  Much love and many hugs! 

My amazing blog friend, Kyla, made a pink velvet cake in Lily's honor for her birthday! Her family enjoyed the cake. We are only blog friends and she did this! How sweet?! Thank you so much, dear friend!

The cake Kyla made all decorated. :-)

Thank you, Kyla 

Thank you, Kyla 

The following several photos are from my sweet friend, Naomi! Thank you so much for your kindness and thoughtfulness! :-)

The rocks pics were taken last week, it rained since and this ice is gone. The hash brown, I made them today for the first time, they were yummy, my whole family loved them.
I hope today was not too hard on you...With love, in Christ, Naomi

It snowed last night...before the sun melted it, I was able to write Lily Katherine's name 

Wearing a pink bracelet today...This is a bracelet my oldest daughter made to wear at our Lily's memorial service. I have no pink clothing so she offered for me to wear her bracelet...

This morning is a cloudy and snowy one here but still a beautiful and unique one...

"The LORD gives strength to His poeple; the LORD blesses His people with peace." ~Psalm 29:11

At sunrise, it was very cloudy here, but God allowed me to see and capture a bit of pink in the sky on Lily Katherine's special day 

♥ Remembering Lily Katherine 

Thank you, Amanda

My friend, Kyla, had pink velvet cupcakes in honor of Lily at her daughter's tea party :-)

For sweet Lily's birthday!

Thank you, Gina! 

Thank you, Jeri, for honoring my girl and eating hashbrowns for her! 

Thank you, Shauna ♥

I got a beautiful surprise from a lizard and butterfly when taking the photos of the purple flowers. When I saw these flowers, they immediately made me think of you & Lily and Molly & her daughter, Eden. So today, I took the time to do both of your photos, and send both of your daughter's. Happy Birthday wishes!
Thank you, Kayla 

Thank you, Kayla ♥

Thank you, Kayla ♥

Happy 3rd Birthday to a beautiful flower in Heaven.  Thinking of you today Hannah. Much love and so many hugs

Thank you, Jessica 

For Hannah Rose and her Lily!

Thank you, Karen 

A lily for sweet Lily on her birthday.

Thank you, Crystal 

Another really exciting part of Lily's birthday is that I finally ordered her headstone after three years of wanting to!! I am so excited to share photos of the proofs soon. For Lily's birthday, my friend's incredibly kind father donated some money towards her headstone...I will be sharing more about that soon. And my friend, Brittany, also donated some money towards Lily's stone, which means so much to me because every bit helps!

I also hosted a triple giveaway in honor of Lily's 3rd birthday.

Thank you to everyone who honored, remembered, celebrated, loved, and missed Lily on her special day, whether through wearing pink, lighting a candle, eating hashbrowns or red-velvet cake, sending a photo, card, message, text, or gift, or even thinking about her or talking about her. It means more than words can say... 

~Read about Lily's 1st Birthday.
~Read about Lily's 2nd Birthday.



  1. You put so much work into this post Hannah. I find it simply amazing... your love for Lily holds no boundaries...

    As I scrolled down through the photos, I got glimpses of Lily, as I looked upon the photos of her mama...


  2. Wow!!!! SO many people celebrating and remembering Lily Katherine on her birthday!!

  3. Lily is very lucky to have a mommy like you ♥♥♥

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.


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