Mattie Miracle 9th Annual Walk & Family Festival -- Raised over $97,000

Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation Promotional Video

Thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive!

Dear Mattie Blog Readers,

It means a great deal to us that you take the time to write to us and to share your thoughts, feelings, and reflections on Mattie's battle and death. Your messages are very meaningful to us and help support us through very challenging times. To you we are forever grateful. As my readers know, I promised to write the blog for a year after Mattie's death, which would mean that I could technically stop writing on September 9, 2010. However, at the moment, I feel like our journey with grief still needs to be processed and fortunately I have a willing support network still committed to reading. Therefore, the blog continues on. If I should find the need to stop writing, I assure you I will give you advanced notice. In the mean time, thank you for reading, thank you for having the courage to share this journey with us, and most importantly thank you for keeping Mattie's memory alive.

As Mattie would say, Ooga Booga (meaning, I LOVE YOU)! Vicki and Peter

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation celebrates its 7th anniversary!

The Mattie Miracle Cancer Foundation was created in the honor of Mattie.

We are a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. We are dedicated to increasing childhood cancer awareness, education, advocacy, research and psychosocial support services to children, their families and medical personnel. Children and their families will be supported throughout the cancer treatment journey, to ensure access to quality psychosocial and mental health care, and to enable children to cope with cancer so they can lead happy and productive lives. Please visit the website at: and take some time to explore the site.

We have only gotten this far because of people like yourself, who have supported us through thick and thin. So thank you for your continued support and caring, and remember:

.... Let's Make the Miracle Happen and Stomp Out Childhood Cancer!

A Remembrance Video of Mattie

Random Shots of Mattie, Family and Friends

August 21, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 -- Mattie died 154 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2007. Behind Mattie were flamingos. What I love about this picture was before I snapped it, I told Mattie to give me his flamingo impression. I hope you enjoy seeing Mattie's flamingo as much as I did and still do.

Fact about Edinburgh, Scotland:  Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and the seat of the Scottish Parliament. It is the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom. The city was one of the historical major centers of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, helping to earn it the nickname Athens of the North. Edinburgh attracts over 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom.

South Queensferry is the gateway (or port town) to Edinburgh, the political, commercial and cultural heart of Scotland. Nestled between the Highlands and the Border Hills, Edinburgh is a gracious city noted for its superb skyline, its impressive collection of architecture and its beautiful parks. The streets of the elegant New Town are lined with graceful Georgian buildings, many designed by the great architect Robert Adam. Edinburgh has also exerted a tremendous cultural force on Europe and the English-speaking world. Among those who have called the city home are the writers, Robert Burns, James Boswell, and Sir Walter Scott and the philosophers, Adam Smith and David Hume.

Alive with culture and history, the capital of Scotland is a thriving UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site. One has to marvel at the medieval architecture and contemporary buildings that stand side by side to one another. The lively culture and classic beauty of this city is on display around every corner. The New Town area has elegant Georgian buildings and contemporary design. Whereas, the Old Town has a plethora of historic sites and monuments that line the famed Royal Mile, Edinburgh's oldest and most historical street. The Royal Mile takes you from the magnificent Holyrood Palace, the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen while in Scotland, all the way to Edinburgh Castle, perched high above the city on a rocky, extinct volcano.

Not unlike the many other mornings we have had in the British Isles, we woke up to fog and rain. As the fog burned off and the sun began to shine for ONLY a few minutes, Peter spied this glorious sight. I was still in my pajamas at 7 something in the morning, but I went outside anyway to look at this very fleeting sight.
Our Ship is very large and most of the ports in the British Isles are unable to accommodate it at a dock. Therefore, when we are unable to dock, the Ship instead anchors a mile or so from the port town and uses the Ship’s tenders (or lifeboats) to transport ALL 3100 passengers ashore. This is a logistical feat in and of itself, but one that Princess has down to a science. Peter snapped a picture of the process this morning. However, our tours begin very early in the morning, and on days in which tenders are needed, we have to be ready 45 minutes before the tour departs from the dock.

A scene from an Edinburgh Street. The buildings are primarily constructed using sandstone.

Holyrood is the palace occupied by the British Royal Family when they are in Scotland for official visits. The palace has been damaged and rebuilt many times since the 15th century. The present design was intended to emulate the palaces of Louis XIV’s France. If you look closely you will see on the gate, the head of a deer (center, top, middle). The deer is very symbolic and helps to perpetuate the legend of why the abbey and palace were created. The land in which the palace is now housed used to be filled with only forest land. One day a king went hunting and got scared because he believed he was being chased by a giant deer. His fear caused him to lose consciousness. When he awoke, he found a piece of wood in his hand. Naturally there could be many explanations for this piece of wood, but the king interpreted it as a sign that his life was spared and he had to build an abbey on this land. The abbey is located on the Holyrood property.

Close up of Holyrood

Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of Edinburgh, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. The Castle was so strongly fortified that no one dared to attack it. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century, BC, although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle here since the reign of David I in the 12th century and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the Castle’s residential role declined, and by the 17th century its principal role was as a military base. There is still a military presence at the Castle even today, but it is largely ceremonial and administrative. The Castle is considered Scotland’s most visited tourist attraction.
Outside the Castle (which is where the people are standing, and there are blue stadium seats all around) is the broad Esplanade, a military parade ground where pipers and other musicians thrill spectators every year during the Edinburgh Tattoo. The Tattoo is a ceremony filled with bagpipes, military drums, and demonstrations.

To reach the Castle requires a walk up 60 steps and many steep cobble stoned inclines.

The Royal Palace was the residence of the Stewart kings and queens in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is also the birth place of King James VI in 1566 and the home of the Scottish crown jewels. Crown room (inside the Palace) contains the crown jewels, scepter, and sword of the ancient Scottish monarchy and the Stone of Scone, where monarchs sat to be crowned. These items have been on display in the same room for over two centuries.

There are many intricately carved stoned corbels around the Castle, representing some of the oldest Renaissance decorations in all of the British Isles.

The view of Edinburgh from the Castle.

St. Margaret's Chapel is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh, which dates back to the early 12th century. It was built by King David I and dedicated to his mother who died in 1093. His mother became a saint in 1251, and the structure is considered a glorious example of Romanesque architecture. The Chapel is very small inside, and is a place for reflection rather than a place to hold a ceremony or mass.

One of the many pathway at the Castle.
Peter and I visited Edinburgh in 1995. Now 17 years later, we returned. Things were different from how I remembered them, naturally. However, three things clouded my experience today: 1) the rain and damp weather, 2) the actual tour guide and his snippy personality, and 3) the fact that we lost my Dad for 30 minutes while touring around Edinburgh.

I could tell immediately today that I was not going to enjoy our tour. I unfortunately or fortunately as some would say, can read people very quickly. This tour guide greeted me this morning by giving me a lecture about the incorrect manner in which I was wearing by tour sticker on my jacket. At 7:45am (after many back to back touring days), he was lucky I was functioning well enough to even put the sticker on my jacket. Just from this brief encounter, I knew we were in store for quite a day. After our tour, the guide instructed us to meet him at a particular time and location this afternoon to head back to the port. He made it very clear that if we did not report on time, the bus would be leaving without us because he had another afternoon tour to run. My mom, Peter, and I stopped in a gift shop before heading back to the bus, and my dad told us he was going to walk ahead and wait for us by the stairs. However, when he arrived at that location, my dad wasn’t there. My dad doesn’t have cell phone coverage in Europe, so he had no way to get a hold of us and we had no way to get a hold of him. My dad and I are both graced with NO sense of direction therefore, our level of anxiety sky rocketed because we knew that he was most likely lost. The question was how were we going to find him? We placed my mom in a strategic spot in the street to look out for my dad, and then Peter and I began running around in separate directions. We both have cell phones and were able to communicate with each other back and forth. As I knew the bus was leaving by a certain time, I went back to alert our tour guide that I lost my dad and therefore needed to collect our things on the bus since he told me outright that he wasn’t going to wait. No surprise given his personality. Nonetheless, I spoke loud enough to the tour guide about my level of dissatisfaction with him and his lack of concern for our situation, that my fellow passengers heard me. Needless to say, after a 30 minute search, we found my dad, and by the way the bus also didn’t leave without us. They waited, and I laughed because I know this only happened because of the scene I created on the bus. Otherwise, I have no doubt he would have left without us. So it has been quite a day in Edinburgh!

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