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

July 22, 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2008. This was really like a week or so before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. He was very excited about his loose tooth. In fact Mattie had a whole process when he lost a tooth. He would put his tooth in a fairy tooth box I bought for him. He would then sit down with me, and together we would write a note to the tooth fairy. The note was to help the tooth fairy decide what to leave him. Mattie never requested money. He would instead request all sorts of things like a hotwheels car to even a necklace made out of pasta (go figure!). Both the tooth box and note would go under his pillow, and low and behold Mattie was always pleasantly surprised when he woke up the next day. That fairy ALWAYS got it right. 

Quote of the day: Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others. ~ Audrey Hepburn

We visited Ash Lawn Highland today. The official residence of fifth President James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1799 to 1823.

James Monroe was a tireless public servant who fought and bled in the American Revolution, successfully negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, worked behind the scenes to push the Missouri Compromise through Congress, secured our nation’s borders, and issued our first hemisphere-wide foreign policy statement: the Monroe Doctrine. 

I asked the tour guide why the property is called Ash Lawn Highland. It got its name from the Ash trees that line the property, as you can see from this photo. 
Mattie would have been pleased by this lizard sighting. This lizard practically came right up to Peter's foot!
Plantations were large money-making enterprises, and ideally produced most goods that were needed on site as well as a surplus of crops and other products for sale. Initially, Monroe found that only a small portion of Highland was cultivated. In 1798, however, he estimated that the plantation could produce 20,000 pounds of tobacco. To increase production, he –like his friend and neighbor Thomas Jefferson—experimented with a variety of agricultural techniques. Monroe successfully planted cover crops, and plowed plaster of paris, or gypsum, into the soil, techniques of boosting soil productivity. Eventually Monroe replaced tobacco with grain crops, which were less draining on the soil. The plantation had both a gristmill and a sawmill, so had the capacity to grind the plantation’s corn and wheat, and process timber from Highland’s 2,000 wooded acres. The blacksmith who shod horses and hammered ironware was likely an enslaved man who lived on the plantation. Other enslaved workers were kept busy spinning and weaving wool and flax, one of the service yard’s most important activities. Since foreign cloth was extremely costly, Monroe imported Spanish Merino sheep to Highland, where he cross-bred them with his domestic animals.

This magnificent white oak, still standing from Monroe’s day, is sometimes called the “witness tree.” It is twenty feet in circumference. 
Now here is the deceptive part of this visit. One thinks one would be seeing the actual Monroe house. However, the house you see on the property was built in the 1870s, long after Monroe lived on this property. They know the dating of this house, through studying core samples of the wood. 

They have been doing some excavation and found remnants of a foundation in front of this house (a house that was destroyed in a fire). Most likely the foundation of Monroe's house. The plan is to relocate this yellow house somewhere else on the property and start digging and exploring the old foundation to learn more about Monroe's actual home. 

So we took this photo because you see three different structures. The farthest on the left is a white house, known as a guest house. It is original to Monroe's era, and Monroe had guests staying in this house. 

The Monroe's lived on this property from 1799 to 1828. So this white structure is original to the property. Then you will see a white intermediary portion of the house. That was built after the Monroe's left the property. Most likely to expand the guest house. While the yellow house was built in the 1870s. So what we saw today was the "white" presidential guest house—sheltering visitors during Monroe’s two-term presidency from 1817 to 1825. Within the house are original pieces owned by the Monroe's. But it was a deceptive tour because they tried to set up the guest house to model how the Monroe's may have had their original house set up. I found that very confusing, but it did give you a feeling for what construction was like in the 1800's as well as Monroe's love for French decor. 

Highland’s slave quarters remained intact until the 1920s. A reproduction was rebuilt in the 1980s based on a 1908 photograph. Today, visitors can walk through the recreated quarters and see demonstrations of chores that were part of slaves’ daily lives at Highland.
The gardens featured many statues of James Monroe. 

Tonight we were meeting up with friends who live in Charlottesville, and also lost a child to cancer. We will be visiting the Clifton Inn's restaurant. It is a lovely experience to visit an Inn and dine in a more historic setting. 

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