Mattie Miracle 8th Annual Walk & Family Festival was an $88,000 Success!!!

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: www.mattiemiracle.com 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

December 24, 2016

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Saturday, December 25, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. When I compare the Christmas photos throughout the years, I can immediate see how Mattie matured with each year. By the time Mattie was five years old (in this photo), he understood the point of looking at the camera and smiling. It made taking a Christmas photo for our holiday cards much easier, in comparison to the dancing and jumping around we had to do to engage Mattie's attention when he was a baby and toddler. Mattie loved having a real Christmas tree in our living room, and though he appreciated seeing his hand made ornaments on the tree, what he especially loved was putting his Christmas train around the tree. 



Quote of the day: Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.  Calvin Coolidge



The Christmas Animals!!!

This was the sight on our bed this morning. Both Indie and Sunny took it over!!! It was that kind of day as it was pouring, damp, and cold outside. These two had the right idea!!! STAY IN BED. 

If I had any doubt whether Indie and Sunny would be friends, this photo confirms it. They not only tolerate each other, but they share space, sniff each other, and I know Sunny gets concerned if he feels something isn't right with Indie!


Despite the rain, we took Sunny out for a three mile walk. It wasn't a pleasant walk for us, but Sunny loved it. He was out and about with his red raincoat, and seemed to love all the puddles, the mud, and checking out new terrain. The beauty of having Sunny is he forces me up and out on even the worst of days. Holidays are not happy times for us, and to me Christmas is for children. So when your child has been taken from you, in a way you feel devoid of holidays and celebrations. Since nothing keeps you better oriented to time and space than watching a child grow and mature. 

December 23, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. Mattie was four years old and very excited about his Santa train that he assembled around the tree. Mattie loved this battery powered train, which literally rode around the tree and puffed out billows of steam from its stack! This train became a very important tradition for Mattie. It was something he particularly loved about decorating for Christmas, since this train only came out during that time. This photo was featured on the cover of our 2006 Christmas card. 


Quote of the day: Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.  Charles M. Schulz



Our friend Margy went to visit Mattie's memorial tree today on his school's campus. This is not something we asked Margy to do, she just does it on of her own accord. On special occasions and holidays, Margy visits the tree with her husband and they add an ornament to the tree. Margy's ornaments are always very thoughtfully selected and it means a lot to us that someone other than Peter and me visits Mattie's tree. 
A close up of the jingle bell ornament added today. Mattie would have approved of this ornament, since Mattie loved anything that made a noise and was musical! 



Peter and I went to the Museum of fine Arts in Boston today with Peter's parents. I snapped this charming photo in the museum's rotunda. The tree was decorated all in white and it was very elegant and magical looking. 
I photographed Peter in front of this Lime Green Icicle Tower by Dale Chihuly. The tower is 42 feet tall! It is made of glass and steel and when the sun shines inside the building, it catches this green glass and it glows. 
We went to see an exhibit today highlighting the works of William Merritt Chase (1849–1916). Chase was a brilliant observer, an innovative painter, and a leader in international art circles at the turn of the last century. This exhibit features an important and overlooked master, praised for his artistic skill in both oil and pastel, as well as for the variety of his subjects: sympathetic images of women, jewel-like landscapes, views of urban parks, and scenes of children at play. Around 80 of the painter’s finest works in both oil and pastel are on display, drawn from public and private collections across the US. Outside of the exhibit is this wonderful backdrop featuring a Chase painting, in which you can sit within the piece and have a photo taken! I think this is a very clever photo opportunity. 


You may have heard of Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, and Edward Hopper, but what you might not know is that all of them were, in a way, classmates. They, along with other leading American modernists, shared a teacher—William Merritt Chase.

Often overshadowed by his contemporaries (such as John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler, for instance), Chase was a pioneer who left enormous, enduring ripples in the fabric of American art history as a revered Impressionist painter, a leader in reviving pastels in the 19th century, and a devoted teacher.

The exhibition is organized thematically, with the layout a testament to Chase’s expansive experimentation in subject: Galleries range from “Art in the Open Air” (landscapes) and “Life in the Studio” (interiors) to “Posing and Composing” (portraits) and “Chase and Japonisme” (incorporation of Japanese influences).


It is quite amazing that I have never heard of William Chase, especially given that I love impressionist painters. But what is noteworthy is that Chase made his livelihood by teaching.He trained hundreds of other well known artists and is best credited for helping other artists find their own artist voice. I will share several paintings below that caught my attention. But in all reality there wasn't one painting he created that I didn't like. Whether it was portraits or landscapes, I loved them all. He had a way of drawing his viewer in. His use of colors, his intrigue for family life and his propensity to paint women as strong and independent individuals were all noteworthy. 



This painting is entitled, Portrait. He painted an unknown subject (which was unusual to Chase, since he primarily sought inspiration from his wife and five daughters) and submitted it to an avant garde exhibition in Belgium in 1884. The harmonies of red and the mood of the girl's "studied weariness" were much admired. 

The next three paintings caught my attention because he captured the interior of his art studio. Something he took great pride in since he considered himself a collector of fine objects from all of the world, and his studio was designed to impress whom ever entered it. 
Another glimpse of Chase's studio. Filled with antiques, colors, and art from around the world. 
Title: The Tenth Street Studio.

The first owner of this painting was a St. Louis businessman who helped finance Chase's art education in Europe. 

This painting intrigues the viewer to delve into the conversation between the woman in white and most likely Chase on the right. But Chase encourages story telling and left the narrative up to the viewer's imagination.


This is a painting of Alice Chase. Chase's wife, who was the primary subject in most of his paintings. I honestly can't imagine what life must have been like for Alice and her 5 daughters. Chase used all of them as subject matters in his paintings and remember his studio was at home. Home and work for him was very fluid, or porous, as the museum describes it. All of this sounds lovely, but to me it also had to be very difficult for his family to live a normal life without being forced to stop and pose for hours. 
This painting is entitled, Tired. It features his oldest daughter "Cosy." Literally the description says Cosy had been posing for hours for another piece. However, in between posing, she had times where she could rest. This painting captures those tired and resting moments. 
This piece is entitled, Venice. As Chase said to a student, "I am perfectly delighted with Venice. It is the most artistic place that I ever was in." 
This painting is entitled, A Summer Afternoon in Holland. The funny part about this was Chase nicknamed the painting, The Tiff. Implying that the atmosphere was perhaps less relaxing than it may first appear!!! Notice the man at the table and a woman in the hammock. At first we may think they are relaxing together outside, however, Chase reveals in his nickname for the painting that not everything is what it appears to be. 


This painting is entitled, Study of a Young Girl on an Ocean Steamer. What I loved about it is I can relate to the subject matter centuries later. The girl is sea sick, isn't feeling good, and clings to an orange in hopes of stabilizing her stomach. 
This painting is entitled, The Open Air Breakfast. It was painted in the Chase's family backyard in Brooklyn, NY, and the subject matter is "modern suburban leisure." It features Alice his wife, his oldest daughter Cosy, his sister Hattie holding a racket and Alice's sister Virginia, lying in a hammock. 
This painting is entitled, Portrait of a Lady in Pink. It features a woman named Mariette, who happened to be one of his students. This painting was considered a "tour-de-force" of the brush because of the exquisite detail and texture of her dress, the ostrich plumbed fan and the transparent chiffon of her skirt. 
This painting is entitled, At the Seaside. Educators in the late 1800's recommended that all children play freely outdoors to promote their mental and spiritual development as well as their physical growth. 

While Chase's children were playing on the beach, he was busy capturing that moment on canvas.
This painting was a Self-Portrait in the 4th Avenue Studio. This was one of Chase's last masterpieces before dying. When his patron asked him why the painting within the painting was left blank, he replied, "It is my masterpiece, the alluring, tantalizing, great picture I always hoped to paint."

December 22, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2005. Mattie was three years old and we decided to take a photo outside one of Mattie's favorite restaurants in Maryland. This particular restaurant has a pond in front of it and Mattie just loved that pond during ALL seasons. This photo was featured on the front of our 2005 Christmas card!


Quote of the day: And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? ~ Dr. Seuss


Last night I planned a family birthday gathering for my mother-in-law at a restaurant called Strega Waterfront. I haven't lived in Boston in almost two decades so I truly did not know where to go for a special dinner. So what I did was I reached out to my friend Colleen who lives in Sudbury, MA. Colleen and I went to graduate school together and we both like food and experiencing fine restaurants. So I knew she would know where I should go. Colleen gave me a list of ten restaurants to choose from and Peter and I selected Strega because of the menu and atmosphere. It is on the water, and I truly I would need to go back there in the summer time to see the water. In the winter everything is dark and it was impossible to know that the water was outside the windows. 

The restaurant was lovely to work with as they helped me arrange flowers and a birthday cake. Given that it is freezing and winter time, the flowers seemed almost tropical as there were lilies, orchids, and roses combined. 
Frankly I think everyone was surprised by this beautiful chocolate birthday cake. Since I did not alert anyone that it was coming. The cake was unbelievably light given that it was all chocolate. As you can see my mother-in-law, Barbara, was surrounded by her three grandchildren. I purposefully took that photo, because I think photos are important and milestone moments should be captured. Not everyone shares my perspective, but I have learned the hard way the importance of photos. In any case, while taking this photo what became abundantly evident to me was that Mattie was very much missing. 
Meanwhile this was the sight out the window this morning. We got a dusting of snow. The funny part is that in DC this snow would have paralyzed the city. In Boston, people went right on with their daily schedules! Roads were packed with cars and people were out and about. 
This afternoon we took Sunny for a walk in the woods. The woods surround a beautiful pond. I am not standing on the pond, but instead a run off area that overflowed from the pond. Sunny and I walked on it and Peter snapped a photo. On the bigger pond, people were ice skating and dogs were following their owners. It was an incredibly peaceful sight and knowing that the pond is only 5 feet deep gives me more peace of mind, because to me pond skating is dangerous. 

This afternoon, Peter and I met up with my friend Jen. Jen and I met at Boston College, we went to graduate school together. Jen was my first friend I made at Boston College, she was in my wedding party, and we have remained friends all these years. The funny part is she just bought a house across the street from Peter's parents. A rather small world, no? In any case, we met at a restaurant today and had a chance to catch back up!

December 21, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2004, and it was featured on the front cover of our Christmas card. Mattie was two and a half years old here and by that point in time, he understood the nature of Christmas and I could rationalize with him about posing under the tree for a photo. To me there was something angelic about Mattie's facial expression here!


Quote of the day: Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most. Ruth Carter Stapleton


My mother in law celebrated a milestone birthday today. One of her friends gave her four tickets to an exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) as a gift. The exhibit was entitled, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain. It is a great title, because most women will get it immediately! There are times we want to put our feet in beautiful and attractive shoes, yet that usually means the shoe isn't comfortable and we will experience the PAIN that comes along with the PLEASURE of dressing up! In any case, this exhibit was right up my alley, since I LOVE shoes and have plenty in my own closet.

This "Red Stilleto" car art greets all visitors into the museum. This is a REAL car and a man designed it for his girlfriend! 

The exhibit, Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, was organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and explores the creative potential, cultural significance and transformative power of footwear through more than 300 pairs, ranging from elaborate vintage designs to cutting-edge contemporary works by Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Prada. 

Examples from famed shoe collectors are shown alongside a dazzling range of works from PEM’s shoe collection, the largest of its kind in the country, many of which have never been displayed before. Shoes: Pleasure and Pain offers a global perspective on footwear fashion and tracks the latest developments in technology that open the possibility of ever higher heels and more dramatic shapes.

Coordinating curator for the exhibit said, “The shoes that we choose for walking are not just about protecting our feet. They project our mood, our identity and our place in the world. By altering stature, posture and gait, shoes signal to the world how you feel about yourself and want to be perceived by others.”

These "parakeet" shoes were one of my favorites!



The exhibition is organized by the themes – Transformation, Status, Seduction, Creation and Obsession – and features shoes worn by high profile figures such as David Beckham, Elton John, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Kylie Minogue and Daphne Guinness, as well as the now infamous blue platforms worn by Naomi Campbell (these blue ones) during her runway fall in 1993. Works from the V&A’s superlative shoe collection are complemented by 110 pairs from PEM’s collection, including historic shoes that pay tribute to New England as a meaningful center for shoe manufacture and design. The curator said, "Shoes are about the personal creativity of the designer and the person who wears that shoe. It's a partnership between two people who likely never meet. You can make something wonderful, but if someone doesn't respond to it, there is something incomplete about the act." 

Creation is about communication. "Fashion often conjures thoughts of creativity in our own life and can serve as a conversation-starter about personal style. In the Status section of the exhibition, you can't help but examine the role of power and shoes, what someone feels and becomes when they put on a pair of tall boots or a high heel.



Shoe boxes were used very creatively throughout the exhibit! These boxes are arranged to look like a giant shoe!









How about these heels! Some are made out of porcelain, to look like Wedgwood!















These festive shoes were another favorite of mine. 




















In 2014, Mattie Miracle received the special Flame of Hope award from Georgetown University Hospital at a black tie gala. Because of the nature of the occasion, I bought a special dress and shoes. The shoes I bought looked like this.... silver and designed by Jimmy Choo. Choo was featured in today's exhibit and I took notice when the exhibit signage said women seek out Choo's shoes and everyone wants to own a pair. The irony is when I went shopping I had no idea who Jimmy Choo was, I just felt the shoes were magical. Clearly you can see the pleasure and the pain of wearing these shoes, can't you??!!

December 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 -- Mattie died 379 weeks ago today. 

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old, and this was the photo on the front of our Christmas card that year. At that age, Mattie couldn't sit still long enough to take a photo. So that day we dressed Mattie in a Christmas sweater and brought him to Lowe's. Mattie liked three stores.... Target, Home Depot, and Lowe's. Mostly because these stores have wide open spaces and people aren't on top of you. But I knew these stores had Christmas displays. So while Mattie was checking out the lights and trees, we snapped several photos. This was the one that made the card!


Quote of the day: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. ~ Francis P. Church


Today we were invited to my mother-in-law's friends' home. They have this rescue dog name Simon. Simon is a cutie and about ten years old. He has a lot of spunk and personality. However, his owners said he is not a lap dog. In true dog fashion, Simon decided to prove his owners wrong in front of company no less. Simon was sitting right next to me and when he looks at you with his big brown eyes, you feel like he really understands you!

I posted this photo a couple of nights ago! This was taken in 2006. We took Mattie for a walk in the woods behind the house Peter grew up in. Mattie loved exploring the woods and of course Peter spent many hours in these woods as a kid. 

Today we introduced Sunny to these same woods. This is a photo of my two boys, with one very special boy missing. This will be our 8th Christmas without Mattie, but that doesn't mean we have gotten used to living without his presence. Holidays are about children and when people around us gather with theirs or talk to us about them..... well we can't help but feel a deeper sense of pain. On top of the pain we naturally live with. 
The sun setting while we were walking through the woods! It was a beautiful sight. Today was in the 30's and in comparison to yesterday, it felt like a heat wave!!!


December 19, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. This was Mattie's first Christmas with us and I was determined to get the "perfect" photo for the front of our Christmas card. I tried photos of Mattie by our Christmas tree, photos of him inside on the couch, and then it dawned on me. It had just snowed, so we brought out Mattie's exercise/entertainment saucer, put him in it, and wrapped a plaid blanket around him. Peter must have snapped 100's of photos that day, and this was the final photo we selected for our card. 


Quote of the day: When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness. ~ Bob Hope



When I say that today was frigid, that doesn't do it justice. It was bitter out and around 20 degrees. But it felt even colder than that. We walked Sunny multiple times today. For walk #3, I took him around the neighborhood and saw a purple house. This photo may not do it justice, but I laughed because there is always ONE purple house in every neighborhood, isn't there? It stuck out to say the least, and I typically LOVE purple. 

The second house on our walk that caught my attention was this one!!! Why? Because the front yard was converted to an ice rink in the winter. I have heard of personal ice rinks, but never saw one in person!!! I bet this house gets many offers to have a skating party!
Later in the day we drove to Woburn, MA. Around the pond is a wonderful nature trail that people and dogs just seem to love. In the Summer when we were here, I immediately noticed the Angel of Hope statute by the pond. This is a memorial that was started by Richard Evans' book lovers. Evans wrote a book called the Christmas Box and it featured the story of a woman who lost her child and an angel statute was created in her memory. People have loved this book so intensely that they established angel statutes all over the Country. The angel of hope is for parents who lost a children in some way. I have only read about these statutes, so when I saw one in person, I knew it was a sign that Mattie had to be included. Therefore, Peter and I came up with the wording for the paver. 


This is what the angel statue looks like and in front of her are many pavers. The pavers contain names and dates of children who have been taken too soon from this earth! I am so happy we braved the cold and saw Mattie's name! 

The irony is I have always loved the story, The Christmas Box. It is a hauntingly emotional short story that stays with you always. In fact I read it before I had Mattie, and when I saw this angel in the summer I knew exactly what it was and why it was created. Of course I never knew I would understand this loss so personally and significantly, none the less, I can see the purpose and reasoning behind why such monuments must be created!

December 18, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2002. This was Mattie's first Christmas. He was eight months old, and though he did not understand the nature of the holiday, he was quite a Christmas package near the tree! I am not sure what was cuter, Mattie in his red onesie or the cute smile on his face. 



Quote of the day: Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts. ~ Janice Maeditere 



Given that today will be a very long travel day for us, I am posting the blog early. Before we even get on the road. Peter and I haven't driven to Boston in years. It is typically such a hellish drive, that we agreed not to do it again. Well that is until NOW!!! Since we want to take Sunny and Indie with us, driving was the best alternative. It either is going to go smoothly, or it is going to be a very painfully long trip. Wish us luck!!!