We celebrated what would have been Olivia's first birthday on January 21st with close friends and family. I was unsure how I would feel that day and if I would regret planning a celebration, but I have to say that I am so glad we did it. For starters, it gave me something to focus on during an otherwise terrible day, which made it pass faster. It also warmed my heart to feel like we were doing something to remember her and honor her on her special day. We sang happy birthday to her at her gravesite, our friend Jeff said such a touching prayer that we appreciated so much and then we released pink (polka dot, of course) balloons to Livy in heaven. I had a moment of hesitation as I was releasing the balloons-for some reason it felt so final, and I guess that's because it is. It felt like I was letting her go all over again, but I am discovering that happens to me over and over.
After the cemetery we came back to the house and had dinner and strawberry cupcakes. My sweet friend Courtney made all of the adorable decorations and cupcake toppers (thanks, girl!) and it was so good to be surrounded my supportive family and friends, some of which had never met each other.
A special thank you to my friend Terri for taking these pictures as well. It is never any fun to be the one behind the camera viewing the events through a lens, but I will be forever grateful to her for the memories she captured for us on film. Flipping through the web album she sent me I couldn't help but think that they captured the event perfectly-the emotions, the story, everything. Thank you!!
After all the birthdays we hit the road to our friend's beach house in Seacrest to unwind, refocus and decompress. It was the first trip we have taken since we lost Olivia and there were sad times but more happy times and for that I am thankful. It was so good to be in the Florida sun. We rode bikes, played on the beach, ate out and watched movies and read books. Thank you, Gonzalez family! I will post a few pictures from our trip in a separate blog entry.