MATTIE MIRACLE VIRTUAL WALK WAS AN $110,000 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

January 4, 2020

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. Our family tradition was to visit the US Botanical Gardens during December. We loved seeing the decorations and it was glorious to enter this hot house on a cold and grey Washington, DC day. 





Quote of the day: Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 'It will be happier.' Alfred Lord Tennyson



We woke up at 5:30am. Not my hour, but it had to be done to pack up, eat something and then head to the airport. Outside our hotel, we could see cruise ships returning to the Ft. Lauderdale harbor. As Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are big turn around days for cruises. In which around 18,000 people disembark and another 18,000 embark on a journey.
The Marriott Harbor Beach hotel before sunrise. 
Even at that hour, the property looks lovely. 
Our view once the sun came up. It was hard leaving this weather knowing we were returning to grayness and rain. 

The view of Fort Lauderdale from the sky. The pilot prepared us for a bumpy ride. We had a stop over in Charlotte, NC. However, despite the preparation, the turbulence wasn't bad! Thankfully. 
Can you see Cape Canaveral?
Charlotte, NC from the sky. Last December when we flew through Charlotte, Peter had food poisoning. He was vomiting non-stop and thankfully after several hours during our layover he stabilized at the airport and was able to fly back to DC. In comparison to last year, this year was peaceful. 
A granite quarry that we could see from the sky. 
Blue skies in Charlotte! The last time we saw blue skies today. 
Coming in the Washington, DC area. Notice the grayness? We were flying over Great Falls, VA. A place we walked often with Mattie.  
National Cathedral in DC.  
A sight I will never forget. I would recognize that AstroTurf in my sleep! Where is it? Try the campus of Georgetown University. Many of Mattie's hospital rooms overlooked this field. To me this field always made me depressed because it reminded me that we were imprisoned in the hospital while others were on the outside living a more normal and less life threatening life. 
The campus of Georgetown University. 
The beauty of Foggy Bottom, DC. Our neck of the woods. 
The Kennedy Center and Foggy Bottom.
A wonderful view of the National Mall. A place we walk often with Sunny. You can see the Lincoln Memorial, the reflection pool, and the Washington Monument. 
We are back home and spent several hours unpacking, going through two weeks of mail, and grocery shopping. Tomorrow we pick up Indie and Sunny. Sunny has been on a hunger strike for two weeks (as I get DAILY text message updates), so I know he will be thrilled to see us.

January 3, 2020

Friday, January 3, 2020

Friday, January 3, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken on December 7, 2007. My mom snapped this photo of the three of us. Ironically given the number of photos I always took, I have very few photos of the three of us together. Which is why this one is one of my favorites. 





Quote of the day: I wanted freedom, open air and adventure. I found it on the sea.Alaine Gerbault


Each day on the ship, you receive a newsletter. The publication basically gives you some fun facts for the day ahead along with a calendar of activities on board for the the entire day. The night before we disembark from the cruise, I have Peter photograph several of the Princess Patters.
The Sanctuary is open on the ship from 8am to 5:30pm. At 5:30pm when we were about the leave, Peter snapped this photo of me.
This cruise, our cabin was on deck 15. The same deck that has the pools and the buffet. It was our first time staying so high up. For the most part it was fine, but on the first two days it was very rocky at sea and you could feel every wave and rocking motion in these cabins. The cabins were very close to this main passenger observation deck at the front of the ship. Yesterday, passengers we had gotten to know from South Africa,  snapped this photo of Peter and me.  
I am pictured with Oscar, the Maitre D' of the ship. We met Oscar during our Canadian cruise in August. Oscar was extremely helpful with our dining arrangements for both cruises. I felt he really looked out for us and made sure our needs were met. 
Our head waiter, Antonio (from Portugal), treated us to these wonderful coconut covered prawns last night. 
On the last night of every Princess Cruise, the tradition in the dining room is that the Maitre D' gives a farewell greeting and then there is a parade of the Baked Alaskas. I have no idea how this tradition started, but the dining room lights are dimmed and all the assistant waiters come out of the kitchen carrying a baked Alaska. In addition the song, the macarena is piped into the dining room. So picture a team of people carrying this dessert and walking around the entire dining room to the macarena. It is a sight and passengers really get into it. 

At the end of the evening, we took a photo with our assistant waitress (Lezaan) and our waitress (Danielle). Both ladies are from South Africa and this is our first female dining team we have ever worked with. They were lovely and we all got along great. 
The sight we saw this morning from our window in the cruise ship. We docked in Fort Lauderdale at 6:30am. Unlike disembarkation in Brooklyn, NY in August, today's process was beautiful. In fact, we got off the ship and to the hotel in less than 90 minutes. Which is truly smooth sailing, because when you get off the ship, you have to first find your luggage in a sea of suitcases (remember the ship has over 3,000 passengers), you have to process through customs, and then find transportation to your next destination. The person who drove us to the hotel was lovely and he understood the psychology of coming off a cruise ship. As cruise ships are VERY accommodating and try to meet your every need. Which is disorienting as the REAL world doesn't work this way. So it is an adjustment! Almost like coming home from a foreign country, you need to re-acclimate. 

When we got to the hotel, we walked around the property for a bit. The vegetation is beautiful, and I was taking it all in, as tomorrow, I will be back to grayness and winter. 
The hotel even has a vegetable garden. 
The beauty of a hibiscus in January. 
We were even greeted by this cute lizard. 
The vegetation around the hotel is so lush and green. When we arrived at the hotel this morning we had breakfast. We know one of the hostesses at the restaurant, since we have been coming here for many years. So we got to see Rosa and as always she took good care of us. 
This big green guy was hanging out by the pool!
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The hotel is right on the ocean. It is a sight to see. When we arrived in Florida two weeks ago, it was raining and cool. That weather is a distance memory and today was sunny and in the 80's.
A view of Fort Lauderdale from our hotel floor. 
The hotel looks out onto the Atlantic. 
We took a four mile walk today along the boardwalk of Fort Lauderdale. I always get a kick out of seeing this Snowman decoration!

Tomorrow morning, reality hits and we will be back on a plane to Washington, DC. In the mean time, I am absorbing the beauty of blue skies, ocean, and flowers all around us. 

January 2, 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. That day I visited Mattie's kindergarten class. I read the children the Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett. Mattie's preschool teacher, Margaret, introduced me to this book. It was a favorite of hers and the main character in the book was named Mattie. After I read the book to the class, I then had a hands on activity for them. I baked big gingerbread babies at home and the children got to decorate them with icing and candies. This was Mattie's gingerbread baby that he brought home. 






Quote of the day: The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea. Isak Dinesen


Last night, we saw the sun dipping into the Caribbean. It was an extraordinary sight and one we never get tired of seeing. There is something about the huge size and fire color that captures your attention. We watched it for several minutes falling into the water and disappearing. 
A glorious sunset and the Caribbean has been so calm. Unlike our first two days at sea in December. We were swaying and the ship was creaking in the water. 
A glorious sunset was matched by a beautiful sunrise. I got confused with the time today. As the Caribbean has been one hour ahead of the East Coast. We thought we had to reset the clocks last night and set them back an hour. Turns out that happens tonight and not last night. So I started the day on the wrong time. 
The beautiful sunrise. 
The Caribbean Princess and the sun. 
The beauty of the sky. It is hard to believe Washington, DC will be dealing with grayness, rain, and cold weather. Meanwhile the Caribbean looks like this.... and we are not that far away from one another. Yet I know I couldn't live on an island. I am very spoiled by living in a big metropolitan city, and truly rely on access to quality health care, culture, and other modern conveniences. 
Today was another at sea day as we sail our way back to Ft. Lauderdale. We spent a good portion of the day in the ship's Sanctuary. It is an all adult area, that provides tea time service and other amenities not found on the other decks. They charge $30 a day for this perk, but for us it is worth it..... not to be surrounded by intense sound and thousands of people.

Each of us is assigned a deck chair. This is my view from the chair! A view I will miss tomorrow, not to mention the wonderful crew who have worked with us in the Sanctuary:

Diana, Karina, Jose, Julius, Luis, Dimitri, Jenny, and Violette. 
Peter snapped some photos around the ship for me today. This is the Princess Theater. It is huge and hosts lectures, shows and other entertainment daily. 
The piazza. This is like the main gathering area in the middle of the ship. Like a hub! From it you can get to restaurants, shops, and other activities.
Another view of the piazza. The amazing part about all of this is the ship is pristine. It is cleaned constantly. You won't find even dust anywhere. I realize cruise ships have to be diligent otherwise viruses and other issues can spread quickly. 
The walking deck. 
Deck 6, where several of the shops are located. The ship has 17 decks, and to me it is as tall as a sky scrapper. 












The ship has three main dining rooms, not to mention cafes, a buffet area, a seafood restaurant, a BBQ restaurant, a steakhouse, and an Italian restaurant. 

We dined in the Coral Dining Room and at night our servers were Danielle (South Africa) and Lezann (South Africa) and in the afternoon we had Molina (Mexico) and Arapan (Thailand).



After two weeks of traveling, tomorrow we arrive back in Fort Lauderdale at 7am. I have to say the disembarkation process is never easy, as we have to pack the night before and leave our luggage outside our room. Therefore we have to pack whatever we need for the next day in a carry on. It's a process, but we always make it work. We will remain in Florida for a day and return home on Saturday.