Mattie Miracle 2021 Walk was a $125,000 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: 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

June 11, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2006 on Mother's Day. The restaurant gave all mothers a beautiful pink geranium that day, and as you can see we also came with all sorts of toys. One of Mattie's favorite toys to take with him were these magnetic cars and trucks which you can see in this picture. He loved the possibilities of assembling different combinations of vehicles!

Quote of the day: Even in our sleep Pain which cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart
Until, in our own despair,
Against our will,
Comes wisdom
Through the awful grace of God. ~ Aeschylus

Peter's day started with a walk on Roosevelt Island. A weekend tradition for him. It sounded like quite a trip filled with incredible sights from snapping turtles to this beautiful painted turtle. I have never seen a turtle on the Island, so I am happy Peter had the camera with him today to capture this fellow. Mattie would have been most excited by this sighting.

Peter and I devoted the day to replanting things in our garden that died while we were at the beach. As you can see in this picture, we recently hung a huge metal sun in our deck space. We got this lovely smiling sun at the beach, and to me it is our symbol of Mattie hanging over our home. You may also notice that there are two wind chimes hanging off of the flowering basket. The wind chime on the right, which looks more transparent with orange coloring, is the wind chime Mattie gave me for my last birthday together. The blue wind chime, Mattie and I picked out together on our trip to Key West, FL. There are many signs and symbols of Mattie all over our garden area.
Our second acquisition for the garden during our beach trip was this painted metal butterfly. I added string garden lights this year to our deck, and to me the butterfly not only highlights the colors, but also captures the spirit of Mattie.
Many of our roses died while we were away. So today, Peter planted new ones. Our deck is filled with vibrant colors again and it truly is our own secret garden in the city.
As you can see in this picture, things are a bloom! On this wall, you will see another sun. We bought this terracotta sun last year at the beach. So the sun is well represented on the deck.
Here is a close up of one of the fountains Mattie made for me with Peter's help. They gave this fountain to me for my birthday in 2008, around the same time Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. You may also notice a big pine cone near the flowerpots. This is one of the many pine cones Mattie collected over the years. We have several all over the deck.
Peter cooked dinner tonight, since I was in no mood to deal with that. We ate outside and as always our cat, Patches, came out to join us. She hops up on a chair and sits with us throughout dinner. Though I am taking this picture, she isn't looking at me per se. Peter was standing behind me, which is why she was focused in my direction! Those two have a VERY tight bond!

June 10, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2006. Peter and I took Mattie out to dinner at one of his favorite Clyde's restaurants. As was typical on our dining adventures with Mattie we brought a whole bag full of things to keep him occupied throughout the meal. In front of Peter and Mattie was a puzzle. Peter and I constructed more puzzles, build more Lego structures, and re-assembled toy cars over meals than most people probably experience in a lifetime.

Quote of the day: He who is most slow in making a promise is the most faithful in the performance of it. ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau

My dad sent me this quote today. At first glance these words may not hit you, but when you re-read it and allow them to be absorbed, you begin to understand the poignancy of this statement. Promises are a funny thing because they are so easy to make. After all, you just have to open your mouth and state something to someone. The catch of course is following through on your word and commitment. Which is why I suspect Rousseau felt that someone who ponders about whether to make a promise or not, and than slowly makes it, has every intention of keeping it. Many of us receive promises each day from others in our lives. Chances are, over time, we have learned who in our lives upholds and respects their promises and who is merely going through the motions and using words. As a child, and even as an adult, I have a memory like a steal trap. If you promise me something (a visit with a friend, a trip somewhere, etc), I will remember the promise and also whether it was delivered upon. I have a feeling my parents learned very quickly with me not to commit to things that they couldn't follow through on. I admit my expectations for others I am most close to is quite high, but it is my hope that others also see that if I commit to something or to help you, I mean it. Promises to me mean something, and I am slow to make them. So now I have to wonder if my dad sent me this quote because it in essence he saw that it captures a part of my style.

This morning I was listening to the radio while getting ready for attend a board meeting. On the radio everyone was talking about how it is Friday, and they played this annoying (from my perspective) Happy Friday song. As I was listening to this crazy song, all I could think about was how insensitive this song is. Sure to the average person today is Friday and the end of a work week. But for so many people Friday means nothing. Certainly anyone in the military would understand my philosophy! However, my brain naturally went to the pediatric units of hospitals. For families in the hospital there is NO FRIDAY! In fact, Friday is a dreaded day of the week, because the weekends are like a ghost town in most institutions. So all I could think of is that radio and most of the media have no idea about the percentage of people who work around the clock either securing freedoms or caregiving for sick family members. For all of these people there are NO Fridays!

I had a four hour long licensure board meeting today. Each month a portion of the meeting is open to the public. Today a public member came before the board to discuss his professional credential. I have been at this position for a while now, and over time I have gotten rather attuned to legitimate versus fabricated requests. Some months it is a challenge, but after each of these meetings, I always feel as if I have accomplished something and am furthering the regulation of the profession of counseling in the District of Columbia.

After my meeting, I had the opportunity to meet my friend, Sara at the National Gallery of Art. I met Sara at Mattie's preschool. Sara was Zachary's nanny. As so many of my readers know, Zachary was one of Mattie's closest friends. These boys had a very special bond and they were instantaneously attracted to each other from the first day of preschool. While at preschool, they were inseparable. They had a lot in common, and yet had some differences, but they always respected each other and defended one another. Anyone who knew Mattie, knew Zachary and vice verse. I certainly know how my life has been impacted by Mattie's cancer and death. But there are days I wonder how such a profound loss impacts the life of a young person. Sure Mattie and Zachary met each other when they were only 3 years old and their relationship ended with Mattie's death four years later, but a part of me truly believes the kind of friendship they had was unique, special, and most likely not replaceable. I will always feel a connection to Zachary and I will always wonder as he grows and matures how Mattie has affected his life and future.

At the end of Mattie's preschool experience, Sara and her husband, Jay, became pregnant with their first son, Ninja. You can see this cutie in the blue t-shirt in this picture. Ninja is truly a force. In fact, he has so much life, energy, and happiness about him that for a brief moment he reminded me of Mattie. Ninja is VERY engaging. He makes beautiful eye contact with you, listens to what you are saying, and has fascinating commentary. He was excited about the museum, seeing new things, and taking in his environment. To me these are special and unique qualities in children, and these were characteristics of my Mattie. On some level, I believe Ninja knew exactly who I was and what I lost. It was as if he was trying to connect with me and let me know that a little person could feel connected with me. He was playing games with me, and simply acting in ways that Mattie would. Naturally Ninja did not know Mattie, but the irony is when Ninja was a baby, Mattie held him. This was the ONLY baby Mattie ever held. The other cutie who is sleeping in this picture is Sara's second son, and I learned today she is expecting her third child in December.
Jay snapped a picture of Sara and I together. What you need to understand is that Sara and I spent a great deal of time together during preschool. She was Zachary's nanny, but she was ultimately my friend. I trusted her with Mattie and I appreciated her kind, gentle, and yet good judgment when it came to raising children. Each day after preschool, Mattie and Zachary would want a play date. So literally four days a week we would spend hours together after school. When you spend this much time together, you get to learn a lot about a person. I miss those days and I know Sara can't believe Mattie is gone. Yet despite his death, she is an avid blog reader and reaches out to me electronically often.

I continue to be a full range of emotions this week, and was very down this evening. In the midst of being down, I received several text messages from my friend, Tanja (Katharina's mom). She had been reading the blog and got the feeling I could use a friend. It is amazing how receiving a compassionate and understanding message can make a recipient feel! Tanja wanted to know how on earth I planted anything this week in this heat and as we chatted back and forth she stated that my gardening helps me stay connected with Mattie! I couldn't have said it better, it is a true labor of love!!! Tanja wrote several messages, but here is a compilation of several that helped me see that others do understand and have not forgotten. Tanja wrote, "While I am not living the life you do, I understand how you feel. I have kept up with the blog and every posting deeply resonates with me. You describe your feelings so well. I understand how you can feel disconnected, especially at a time when most families are spending most of their time with their children and your life is missing the essential part of who you are - a mother! I think though that many of your blog readers understand how you feel and sympathize with you. I love the pictures on the blog from your vacation. I think that Mattie showed you that he is with you all the time. Thanks to the peace and quiet of the beach you and Peter were able to sense his continued presence in your life. I appreciate the trust in me and the understanding you have! I am always in awe with how you are able to reach out to others, empathize with them and support them despite the terrible trauma you have been through and continue to live with daily. Make sure to take care of yourself and get the rest you need. Mattie and many others need you and your Foundation's work. But you must take care of yourself first!   

June 9, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Tonight's picture was taken in April of 2006. Mattie had just turned four years old. I was outside on our deck, hosing it down, and getting it ready for planting season. As you can see, Mattie requested to be soaked with water from the hose. Which explains why he was dripping wet in this photo. The funny part about Mattie was he enjoyed getting messy, jumping in sand, mud, and all sorts of stuff, but he also loved being clean. In that sense, Mattie was just like me, we both love organization in our lives and for things to be clean and neat.

Quote of the day: I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it. ~ Maya Angelou

I am not in a writing kind of mood tonight. Some nights I do sit down at the computer and wonder what I will write. Tonight, that isn't so much the problem, since I have various thoughts and feelings I could discuss, but I am choosing not to right now. I would imagine my life is hard to fathom to some, or even why I have the need to write each night. Tonight's quote was sent to me by my former student and friend, Charlie. The irony is Maya Angelou was the speaker at my college graduation. As I read this quote, I would most definitely agree that my life has been forever changed by Mattie's death. Do I think his death has reduced me? That is a strange notion in my mind. On the contrary, experiencing cancer and then the death of my only child can't possibly REDUCE me. It can only overwhelmingly add to my dimensions. Cancer has weighed down my mind, body, and heart, and these weights are difficult to bear each day. So some days I would love to be reduced, but I find with grief there simply is NO reduction!

I have noticed lately in the quieter moments of my day, I vividly reflect on aspects of Mattie, or play back a scene from his treatment. I find that I do this some times at night, and when this happens, I have to force myself into a diversion, otherwise there is no way I will go to sleep. If you think I can forget about Mattie's cancer treatment, his battle, our time in the hospital, his painful visits home between hospital treatments, or his death, you are sorely mistaken. Time continues marching on and for those around me, time may be healing, but for Peter and I, time only exacerbates the wounds.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon finishing up Ann's garden. At one point, my car thermometer read 107 degrees. It was broiling outside, and I couldn't spend as much time in the sun today based on my marathon planting day yesterday. But Ann's garden is looking lovely and I have incorporated a glass sun and metal butterfly into her garden as well. I meant to take pictures today, but I was just too wiped out and covered in dirt. But I promise pictures will be coming soon.

June 8, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2007. Peter and I took Mattie to Roosevelt Island. As you can see, Mattie climbed up on his favorite rock. He had several on the Island. The irony about Mattie was he was initially very tentative to climb, swing, or go down slides. But once he got the hang out of it, we loved the motion, movement, and the adventure!

Quote of the day: The tears I feel today

I'll wait to shed tomorrow.
Though I'll not sleep this night
Nor find surcease from sorrow.
My eyes must keep their sight:
I dare not be tear-blinded.
I must be free to talk
Not choked with grief, clear-minded.
My mouth cannot betray
The anguish that I know.
Yes, I'll keep my tears til later:
But my grief will never go. ~ Anne McCaffrey

I spent the entire day at Ann's house working on her garden. In fact, I met her and Abbie (her daughter) at the gardening store and we picked out plants together. Abbie has an eye for color and I appreciated her interest in looking at all the plants and picking out the ones she wished to plant. Gardening can be a very therapeutic hobby and it is wonderful to develop this interest in children at a young age. However, most people wouldn't have dreamed of gardening today. It was close to 100 degrees, sunny, and very humid. In fact, the Washington, DC area was under a code red air alert. Despite this, I was outside for at least six hours pruning and planting. I was armed with my hat, sunscreen, and bug spray. All those things helped greatly!

While getting ready to plant, a young fellow walked up to me. I am used to people walking in Ann's neighborhood, so I typically do not have my guard up. That was my first mistake today! Naturally if I were on my own turf, in the District of Columbia, this fellow wouldn't have gotten passed "hello" with me. But Ann's neighborhood is in suburbia and at times because I know so many of her neighbors, I fall into a false sense of complacency.

This young man told me he was selling magazines to earn points to go to college. He told me he wanted to go to Pennsylvania State. He seemed nice enough, legitimate enough, and showed me his ID and the permit from the company he is working for to earn points. However, while I was talking to him, I noticed a police car drive by. I could see that the notion of this car driving by made him nervous. However, it was also clear that I wasn't going to get rid of this person unless a bought a magazine subscription. I wouldn't give him a credit card or check! So I gave him cash. While we were doing this transaction, literally three police cars pulled up in front of Ann's house and stopped us. They pulled this fellow aside. I was fortunate that Ann's neighbor had just dealt with this fellow and called the police. Mind you while this was taking place, Ann's son was inside the house. I knew enough to know NOT to let this person inside the house.

Any case to make a long story short, the whole door to door magazine sale was a scam. It is unfortunate that the young men selling the magazines were also victims of the scam, because they honestly believed that they were earning points to get into college. I attached a link to magazine scams below. I have been out of the loop for a while, due to Mattie's cancer and death, but as I read the link below, I related to everything happening to me today. I am passing this information along to my readers in case such an incident happens to you. As the police officer told me, these scammers tell convincing and sad stories, and you feel compelled to help. Needless to say, the female police officer stayed with me the entire time, helped me get my cash back, and then removed these TWENTY young men who walked into the community to sell magazines!!!! The police officer was stellar and she gave me her business card in case I should run into any more trouble today. I appreciated that especially since the young man who took my money was VERY mad at me for asking him to give it back to me. Based on his level of instability, I wasn't sure if he would retaliate later.

Door to Door Magazine Scam:

As the day continued, I felt better because I could see that Ann's neighbors were home, and if I had a problem I would just seek their help. I also had the opportunity to see my friends Mary and Tina, who live in Ann's neighborhood. They drove by while I was planting! Ann's garden is in full bloom now with zinnias, angelonia which is also called summer snapdragons, celosia or the velvet flower, new guinea impatiens, and salvia. Tomorrow is going to be as hot as today, so we shall see how these new additions work out.

When Peter got home tonight, we had dinner outside on the deck and exchanged stories about our day. Mind you Peter was calling me on my cell phone throughout this police incident! Peter and I are trying to recall our time at the beach, and the more relaxed feelings we had last week. Even Patches enjoys our outside time while we are having dinner, and in a way she appreciates us being together surrounded by flowers and Mattie's fountains.

June 7, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 -- Mattie died 91 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2006. Peter and I took Mattie on a nature trail, and along our journey a tree had fallen. Mattie thought it would be a good idea to climb on the tree and check out the view from atop of the limb. As you can see from this picture his venture was a success.

Quote of the day: To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. ~ Unknown

Today was Peter's first full day back to work. I am sure after a 12 hour day, he feels as if he never went on vacation! When he arrived home tonight, I met him outside in the garden. I was watering our plants and lemon tree and trying to nurse everyone back to health! In his hands, he was carrying the mail. We have become a society of electronic communication, that rarely do we receive correspondence in the mail that is not a bill or advertisement. But today Peter handed me a card.

Our friend, Tamra, sent me a card. Many of my faithful blog readers know that Tamra was the member of Team Mattie who brought me all sorts of tasty treats while Mattie was in the hospital, and toward the end of Mattie's life she visited daily with tea and coffee for us. The day before Mattie died, Tamra dropped  off things in Mattie's room to us, she took one look at Mattie, said nothing, gave us both hugs, and turned around and left. That was actually the right thing to do! Because at that point, no words were necessary, able to be tolerated, or even acceptable given the situation before us. That moment in time and Tamra's sensitivity will always remain with me. When I opened Tamra's card today, she wanted us to know she was thinking of us and how much she loved the Foundation's Walk. She understood that was a labor of my love. On the front of Tamra's card was the beautiful quote reflected in tonight's blog. The quote is SO meaningful and powerful, because in all reality this is what we all desire. To be important and needed in the eyes of another. However, so many people are afraid to let others know how they feel. Therefore, Tamra's card and sentiments meant a great deal to me.

In fact, Tamra's card had me reflect on a Helen Reddy song entitled, You and Me Against the World. For those of you unfamiliar with this classic, click on this link to hear it: This was a song I frequently sang to Mattie. It was one of our songs. I sang it to him starting at age 2. Mattie was not always appreciated by others around him. He was a late talker and had sensory issues which we worked through. But this combination made him challenging to raise. However, despite his biting, hitting, and extreme tantrums, I always saw a very special boy through these behaviors. Behaviors can be corrected and new ones can be learned, but what is at the core of a child is what is hard to change. Mattie's core was always bright, passionate, and energetic. So at times when others did not get him or us, I would sing this song to him. The ironic part is how the song ends, with the notion that one of us will die and the other one will have to carry on. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect Mattie to go before me.

I accomplished a lot of chores today and during lunch time, I went to visit Ann's mom, Mary. I haven't seen Mary for weeks, and I know she has missed seeing me. I brought her, Shayla (her caregiver), and myself lunch and we all had it together and chatted. Mary calls me her "true blue," I guess because she perceives me as reliable, loyal, and trustworthy. All lovely compliments. While chatting over lunch, Mary started talking about her son and her hopes that she would see him. As many of my readers know, Mary's son died from cancer over three years ago. However, her son remains on her mind and she longs to reconnect with him. If I hadn't lost Mattie to cancer, I most likely would have answered Mary with a more matter of fact and realistic response. Meaning that she wouldn't see him any time soon, because she is alive and he died. However, instead my response to her today was that her son probably visits her more than she realizes. I said that he is most likely always with her, but that I wished for her to see him soon too. I do think being open and receptive to signs from nature, helps us to connect with our sons. I am a concrete and grounded person and I am not sure I would have felt this way prior to cancer, but now I am open to possibilities and open to things I can't explain.

Later in the day, I had a follow up doctor's appointment. The joke I have with this doctor is I see her and her staff more often than some of my family and friends. They all get a chuckle out of that. In April and May alone, I was practically at this doctor's office every other week dealing with pain. After the end of my exam today, the doctor told me she thinks I am "adorable" and wanted to give me a hug. I told her I accept hugs in return for appointments whenever I need them!

I would like to end tonight's posting with a special message from my friend and colleague. Nancy is one of the people who always seems to know exactly what to say when I need to hear it. Nancy wrote, "I was sad to read of the lose of some of your beautiful flowers. It was quite a shock and I understand how you needed to take care of it right away. It is important that we right the wrongs we have control over. Another metaphor of the incomprehensible loss that you experienced. You did all the right things with Mattie's care and still he died. No one can explain it and now you do everything that Peter and you can to honor his life. As many have said; "You are special and loved." I look forward to the pictures showing the new Mattie symbols on the patio. Thinking of you this Tuesday."

June 6, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken on July 4, 2006, on Zachary's (Mattie's close preschool buddy) family's boat. Mattie loved watching the fireworks from the boat, and absolutely was thrilled with the whole water experience. It was an incredible way to see the fireworks, because it seemed like they were going off right over our heads and they looked larger than life.

Quote of the day: If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven't, you cannot possibly imagine it. ~ Lemony Snicket

I had a horrible night of sleep on Sunday. Perhaps because I knew I was headed home. I am NOT sure, but I was preoccupied with thoughts that someone was trying to break into Ellen's beach house. I heard all sorts of noises throughout the night. When I was able to sleep, I had quite a vivid dream. I rarely remember my dreams, but this one was quite memorable. In fact, at 3am, I awoke in fear because I heard noises, but was also troubled by my dream. In my dream, I was attending a Georgetown University Hospital party. However, at the party Mattie was alive and in a wheelchair, and right beside him was his buddy, Zachary. They were having a good time and were up to their usual mischief together. In the dream I am simply perplexed. I know Mattie died and yet there he was at the party and playing with Zachary. He did not look sick, but he was in a wheelchair. The inner conflict between the dream and thinking someone was breaking into the house, disturbed my sleep and I awoke and really never knew how the dream or vision of Mattie was supposed to be interpreted. Forget the interpretation, I would have just liked to know where this dream was going, but it was quickly interrupted by my restlessness.

Peter and I left the beach at 11:15am. It was an uneventful drive, and actually quite a pretty one. We passed many farms and other natural scenes along the way. There were miles upon miles of corn fields, and while Peter was driving, I tried to capture one.

But our trip home was relatively quiet. Both of us were not happy to be returning home, and we had a full range of emotions we were feeling.

Along our journey we also passed fields filled with cows. For those of you who do NOT know, I LOVE cows, particularly Holstein cows (the black and white ones!). So rest assured if there is a cow to be seen, I will be taking a picture of it.

As we traversed over the Bay Bridge, I saw this lone sailboat in the water. It was a peaceful sight against the very blue water. This sailboat seemed to illustrate my feelings, alone in a bay full of water.
This was our last glimpse of the Chesapeake Bay before returning to land. It was a beautiful sight and one we will have to remember for weeks to come. On our way home, we stopped by the vet to pick up Patches. She was absolutely thrilled to see us! However, when we returned home and I opened up our deck door, I was stunned to see all our plants looking VERY wilted and some dead. We have a timed sprinkler that goes off when we are away, to insure that our plants are cared for. However, something must have went very wrong and the sprinkler did not go off. I was so upset by what I saw, that I did not even go inside our home to unpack. I immediately started working on reviving and cleaning up the dead plants. We lost roses, petunias, gerber daisies, and marigolds. This is a garden we have cultivated now for months and it has been our piece of serenity in the city. So needless to say, I was unhappy. So it seems that this coming weekend I was be replanting some things. However, while at the beach, we bought some symbolic things of Mattie, like a big metal sun and butterfly, which have now been added to our deck.

June 5, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tonight's picture was taken in June of 2008. A month before Mattie was diagnosed with cancer. Peter took Mattie to a Nationals baseball game. Mattie was my kind of baseball viewer. He watched the game for a few minutes, but was really more interested in watching the people in the audience and walking around the stadium. With Mattie we got to explore every store in the stadium, along with every vendor stand.

Quote of the day: There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass - if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it's okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays. ~  Jodi Picoult

Today was the first cloudy and cool day we had at the beach. We have lucked out all week with incredibly warm, almost summer like days. Because of the weather, we went to the shopping outlets in Rehoboth Beach. Peter and I had a good time there, and an entertaining one at that. Some of our shopping experiences today were an absolute riot. For example, I had Peter open up a credit card at one of the stores he was shopping at. I was determined that he get a 15% discount. Something so simple, turned out to be difficult, and yet at the same time a riot. The company wouldn't grant Peter a credit card until they verified it was him. They had several Peter Brown's in their computer system, and they wanted to make sure who they were giving a card to. So right in the middle of the store, Peter was on the phone literally answering multiple choice questions. One of which was what his height was!!! The salesperson and I were laughing hysterically. I said if they asked him his weight, that I was going to lose it. It is comic moments like these that are great distractions, and gave us a chuckle for the rest of the day. Needless to say, we got our 15% discount.

Despite the cool weather, we went for a walk along the beach. The ocean was powerful today and waves were crashing onto the shoreline. Nonetheless, we will miss this beach tomorrow evening. There is something very healing to be by the water. For me the sound of the ocean and the amazing songs and sounds from the shorebirds throughout the day are the aspects I will greatly miss.

Walking along side us on the shore was this wonderful Sandpiper. I love watching the birds by the water, and I never venture to the beach without my camera, because I just never know what will capture my attention. While walking the beach tonight, I happened to notice a child's footprints in the sand. The footprints seemed to follow us for our entire walk, and all I could imagine was Mattie right next to us.
There seemed to be something very patriotic about seeing our American flag flying in the wind, right along the shore line. It was the only color really in the scene and it caught my eye.
As we were walking back to Ellen's house, my bunny friends did not disappoint me. I will miss my bunny friends tomorrow evening. Peter and I have developed a routine throughout this week. By a certain point during the day, we made sure we were sitting on the deck, taking in fresh air, the sights of the ocean, and the birds. Then by 5pm, we were always walking on the beach and tracking down bunnies. It has made for a memorable week. As we head back to Washington, DC on Monday afternoon, we will be missing our beach and bunny time tomorrow evening!