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

April 5, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2005, during Mattie's third birthday party. That year he had a Blue's Clues themed party. For the first several years, I had specially designed cakes made for Mattie's birthday (to reflect the theme) at a bakery in Silver Spring. It was a journey for Mattie and I to go and pick up these cakes, but it always signaled that his party was coming! That year, I designed a Blue's Clues treasure hunt game that everyone had a great time participating in! It was also the year I hired a magician to entertain the kids. The magician was a George Washington University student and he even brought his pet bunny, for the magic show, but also for the kids to pet and experience. 

Quote of the day: Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. ~ Debra Ginsberg

Last night at 12:45am, we were awoken out of a deep sleep to the sound of a fire alarm. It was startling and there was an intercom in the room directing us to get out. We literally gathered ourselves and opened the door (after Peter checked the door for heat, and looked out the security hole in the door to see if there was fire) to our room and we located the staircase down. Several of our hall mates were also leaving but some said they were calling the front desk to see if they had to leave their room. One woman told me that the front desk said that the issue was a false alarm in a garage. That made no sense to me, so we proceeded out. 

Once we walked down six flights of stairs and vacated the building, guests seemed confused and didn't know what to do. Peter literally led all of us to the front of the hotel in order to check in with the front desk for information and updates. So a pack of people were following us. The front desk reported that a smoke detector went off in a guest room, but that everything was fine to go back to our rooms. So which is it.... a false alarm in a garage or a problem in a guest room? Peter asked her how do we take the stairs back up to the guest rooms, because with hundreds of people standing around the elevators were going to be full. Literally she had NO answer for us, she didn't know where the stairs were. Again Peter found them and again a group of people followed us up the stair case. When we got up six flights of stairs, I literally found our next door neighbor now in the hallway. She asked me if she had to leave her room because she had a baby sleeping? Honestly! There is an emergency and you have a baby and you are wondering what to do? Fortunately she was lucky this was a false alarm otherwise she and her family would have been in real danger. 

The hotel's management of this potential issue was POOR, and the sad part is a similar incident happened to me years ago when I stayed at this hotel with my parents and Mattie. That false alarm happened at 9pm. So to me this happening twice indicates to me a PROBLEM. What I do know is I am NEVER returning to this property again because to me it has many issues and is managed poorly. 

I forgot to post this photo yesterday on the blog. But Peter and I went down to the beach and created this seaweed creation in honor of Mattie's 15th birthday. In true Mattie fashion we used claimed items from the beach.... seaweed, palm fronds, and sea shells. 

Today we boarded the Carrie B, a sightseeing paddlewheel tour boat. We wanted to find out why Fort Lauderdale is nicknamed the Venice of America and the Yachting Capital Of The World. For 90 minutes we found out why, as we passed homes which sold in the early 1920's for only $4,000 to $8,000 dollars. Today these homes sell for multi-million dollar prices. Try to the 30-40 million dollar range!

Right where we boarded the boat, was the Stranahan House. This House is the home of Fort Lauderdale pioneers Frank and Ivy Stranahan. Built in 1901 as a trading post and converted into a residence for the Stranahans in 1906, the house is the oldest surviving structure in Broward County. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and today operates as a historic house museum.

The Carrie B is docked in the New River. The New River is a tidal estuary in South Florida, United States. The river is connected to the Everglades through a series of man made canals. After passing through Fort Lauderdale, the river connects to the Atlantic Ocean at Port Everglades cut.

This is the 17th Street Causeway Bridge. A familiar sight to Peter and me. Each time we took a cruise ship out of Ft Lauderdale, we are docked near this bridge. Proceeding south through the 17th Street Causeway Bridge, you enter Port Everglades. On a busy day this port is home to the largest cruise ships in the world. In fact, Ft Lauderdale is known to turn around 46,000 cruise passengers each Saturday and Sunday in the busy season. 

We passed this sight today, but again this is a sight that we definitely recognized. As every cruise ship leaving Port Everglades passes through this channel to get out to the ocean. What I love about these high rises in the distance is they greet every cruise ship that leaves port. They blow horns, ring cow bells, wave signs, and truly make it a memorable send off!

The tour we took today truly did not cover any of Ft. Lauderdale's history. Which is a shame. They focused on homes and yachts. Which is also fine, but at the fast pace they covered them, I can honestly say I don't know much about most of the manisons much less who they belong to! I know the guide rambled through homes now or formerly occupied by Burt Reynolds, Nick Nolte, Gloria Vanderbilt, car dealer Mike Maroone, hot dog impresario Oscar Mayer, Sen. Herb Kohl, the Wisconsin Democrat and heir to the Kohl's department store fortune, and members of the Anheuser-Busch family, makers of Budweiser.

There are two houses that stand out to me from this tour. The first is Wayne Huizenga' house. Huizenga began with a single garbage truck in 1968, he grew Waste Management, Inc. into an entity that would become a Fortune 500 company. Huizenga aggressively purchased independent garbage hauling companies, and by the time he took the company public in 1972, he had completed the acquisition of 133 small-time haulers. By 1983, he grew Waste Management into the largest waste disposal company in the United States.

Huizenga repeated his business success with Blockbuster Video, acquiring a handful of stores in 1987, and becoming the country's leading movie rental chain by 1994. Eventually, he would also build and acquire auto dealerships, from which in 1996 he formed AutoNation, which has become the nation's largest automotive dealer and a Fortune 500 company, and remains his most recent major business venture. 

Huizenga' house has been nicknamed the Lego House. Because it was built in parts, but in all reality it could be called the Lego House because each section within the compound is comprised of a different color. 

The second house that is noteworthy is referred to as the White House. It is an 11-bedroom mansion built in 1938 and lived in for years by the man who made his fortune selling air-conditioning assemblies to car makers. It was listed for $35 million, but then was marked down to $28 million. If you do buy it, we are told you better be prepared to pay more than $600,000 a year just in property taxes. 

Another photo of the White House owned by James L. Hutchings, Chairman of the Board and CEO of S&H Automotive Products. Inc.

I will show you a photo of some of the mansions we saw today. This one is up for sale at 32 million. It has 8 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 20,000 square foot on two acres! 
Another mansion. Keep in mind that all these mansions have docking space in front of them for yachts. I thought it was a riot to know that many of these millionaires have yachts but don't always use them. They RENT them out, try for $300,000 a week or more. This doesn't include the staff and food!
This mansion had a Mediterranean feeling at one time but the owners did not care for it so they stripped it of its character. In the process they made a mess out of this house.  
We learned that many of the palms in front of these houses cost $15,000 each!
Another one. I can't say how this tour made me feel. I do know the tour left me agitated. I am not sure why. If I could afford such a house, I wouldn't buy it here. To me it is like living in a goldfish bowl with boats passing by and looking into your house. I also think what these folks pay in taxes, what they pay for their yachts and the list goes on could be used for better causes. 

This is bahia mar, which apparently is a sought after place to dock your boat. People pay $7 per foot a DAY to dock here. Keep in mind most yachts here are over 100 feet. So at the very least people are paying $700 a day for docking and ships of this size need crew (try 18 people at the least) who live and work on the ship daily. 

1 comment:

Margy Jost said...

Vicki, you are an amazing tour guide. While I am only reading what you have seen, I often feel a little part of your adventure. I certainly learn a lot. If I were wealthy, I would not put my money into purchasing things. Things don't make us happy nor do they give a feeling of accomplishment. i will never be monetarily wealthy so Indont need to mull over what I would do.
Your birthday planning for Mattie was wonderful each year. I feel certain he & his buddies had great fun. I loved your birthday picture of Mattie,
Your quote will leave me pondering as I often do about loving someone. I do believe our greatest love is for our child or children. It is a different kind of love than we have for our spouse which is also very special. But with our child, we love so unconditionally and without any expectation! That kind of love leaves our hearts open to pain that is incomprehensible. Whether, we admit it or not, every parent fears something happening to their beloved child even if it is only on a subconscious level. For parents who loose a child to cancer, their fear becomes a reality. The unconditional love for your child never goes away but all the joy, hope for the future goes away. It is all so unfair.

I love the memorial, you made for Mattie on the beach. Thinking of you & Peter