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

January 6, 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in August of 2009. A month before Mattie died. Mattie was in the clinic and absolutely miserable. He was dealing with terrible pain, as his cancer had spread throughout his body. The black box next to Mattie was a pain pump, which was connected to him 24 hours a day. Yet even that did not cut it, and Mattie would need extra boluses of pain meds through his IV. I snapped this photo because Mattie's art therapist, Jenny, brought in a special toy she was holding for Mattie.... a remote control dinosaur. She knew how much he loved dinosaurs and the mechanics of toys. Despite his intense pain, which would have sent the average adult jumping out the window, he found the strength and courage to play. 

Quote of the day: Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.  Fred Rogers

I had an electronic conversation with a friend today and we were reflecting on the beauty of children with cancer. Specifically we got to talking about children and their behaviors as they are dying. Yes I know, not a conversation for the weak of heart, but that is what I like about my friend. We can talk about the horrors of childhood cancer and the inner beauty of the child's spirit that cancer can never take away. Despite its best attempts.  

One thing that is consistently true about children is they have an inner force to live and truly fight dying. You can see this courage and strength in the way they continue to play, smile, and want to engage with those closest to them. I am not sure adults die in this fashion, in my experience helping two die, it was a very different process from watching Mattie die. Perhaps it is my perception, but I don't think so. Even when a child is dying, there seems to be a spurts of energy or glimpses into the steadfast personality and spirit.

Upon reflection I saw it with Mattie in the last month of his life. I think the photos below help to illustrate what I am talking about. 

In this photo, Mattie was sitting outside on our deck, really unable to move or breathe, and yet he and Peter were playing with his remote controlled boat. Mattie loved water play and boats and his dream was to one day own a boat (A REAL BOAT) and to be a ship captain. This was an activity Mattie loved to do before cancer came into his life, and because he was dying, this did not change the activities that most interested him. We may have had to alter how he engaged with the activities, but his interests were consistent. 

As you can see, water play was a big part of Mattie's life. This photo was taken on August 5th, the day we learned that Mattie's cancer was terminal. Yet here he was, playing in the clinic with a hand crafted boat that he made and having boat races in a tub of water. 
Mattie and his Legos. Mattie was a huge Lego fan. Before cancer and during it! While in treatment, Mattie completed every known Lego kit on the market. As Mattie was getting sicker, he had a harder time relating to people. Yet if they walked in his room and started asking him questions about one of his Lego creations, he would pipe up and respond. Legos became a therapeutic tool for us, and frankly when we were working on a creation as a threesome, for a couple of hours we would try to forget why we were confined to a hospital. 
Mattie building a NYC taxi! This taxi is on display in our living room. Thanks to Mattie's child life specialist, a special event was planned for Mattie in the Lego store at our local mall. Mattie got to enter the store after hours and work with two Lego building experts. They gave him the choice to build any kit he wanted to in the store. Since Mattie had done every kit imaginable already, they then asked him what he wanted to build. He said a New York City taxi. Most likely from his recent experiences in NYC to attend Memorial Sloan Kettering for experimental treatment. There was no kit in the store for such a taxi, so the experts designed the taxi from their own knowledge and understanding of Legos. Mattie absolutely loved working with the team of experts and fit right in with them. 
Mattie always wanted a ride on vehicle when he was well. But given the expense of such an item, I always said no. However, when your child is dying, it is amazing how your perspective can change. My parents bought Mattie this car, which Mattie called "Speedy Red." Peter assembled it and then I rode on it with Mattie to teach him how to drive. Ironically Mattie had a sixth sense for how to drive, how to use a gas pedal and break, and how to steer. If you look closely you can see that Mattie was attached to oxygen. Which he needed full time, along with his pain pump. 
Mattie had excellent fine motor skills. He did right from the beginning. While he was in treatment, he became friends with Deborah, the bead lady. This was one of many beaded creations Mattie made me. Naturally his pieces are priceless to me and are part of his legacy. 

All the photos I shared tonight were taken in the last month of Mattie's life. I think it is amazing actually given the amount of pain he was in, not to mention the fear and depression he was battling. Yet the Mattie we knew prior to cancer, interested in all sorts of activities, was the Mattie we had with us for the most part during treatment. He may have shut people out of his life and disengaged with friends, but we tried to keep him busy with distractions and activities that always defined Mattie.

January 5, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2003. Mattie was a year and a half old and we were desperate to get a photo of Mattie for the front of our Christmas card that year. I knew Mattie didn't get the notion of Christmas yet, much less why one needed to pose for a camera. So we took him to Lowe's, put him in a shopping cart with his Christmas sweater on and began snapping photos of him. Mattie loved visiting three stores: Lowe's, Home Depot, and Target. So I figured we had half a chance in Lowe's to capture his attention and have a holiday backdrop! As you can see, Mattie grabbed an ornament off one of the decorated trees and was shaking it to hear it jingle. This wasn't our Christmas card photo, but it was one of several hundred we took that afternoon. 

Quote of the day: Be intentional and purposeful in your calling. ~ Sunday Adelaja

As I was talking about legacy items yesterday with our researchers (refer to Thursday's blog for more specifics of what I am talking about), I was called "intentional." Intentional as it related to my parenting style. After all, I captured items, remembrances, and mementos of Mattie's life. Did I set out to be intentional? Meaning that I had a plan and made a conscious effort to collect, categorize, and keep a timeline of Mattie's life. I would have to say the answer to that question is YES! 

From the moment I was pregnant with Mattie, I started making notes, taking photos, and capturing this pending change in our lives. In a way I was like a mini-journalist as it came to Mattie. I collected as much information and photo documentation throughout Mattie's life, pre-cancer and with cancer. Naturally my planning was that one day Mattie would love looking back in time to when he was born and growing up. My goal was to do all of this for Mattie, never thinking that all of this documentation would serve as part of his legacy. 

In yesterday's blog, I was trying to impress upon a point that legacy items should not only be created when a child is dying or is dead. Instead, all the items a child ever creates, pre-cancer, and while in treatment, serve as the child's real legacy. It never dawned on me that I was so intentional, until one of our researchers mentioned this to me. She is absolutely correct, and the beauty of being intentional, is I took my daily intentional activities (that I did pre-cancer) and brought them to the hospital with me. Which is most likely why the blog was the perfect forum for me in July of 2008, when Mattie was diagnosed. It allowed me a physical/virtual place to consolidate information not only in text but visually EVERYDAY. Therefore, creating legacy items for Mattie, was actually easier for us because I was so intentional. I always saw my mom role (in part) as a keeper of history, an archivist in a way. 

I joked with our researcher, because I have been called many things as it related to Mattie.... sentimentalist, a collector of his items, and simply having a type A personality. However, I like the notion of being intentional much much better. Being intentional truly captures me, and as you can see this conversation I had yesterday was so meaningful to me that it is carrying over into today. 

Certainly being intentional is more time consuming, it can be labor intensive, and it requires a level of discipline and organization. But that is me, I am happiest when organizing, making connections to things and people, and when I was Mattie's mom, this important role required all of these skills. Without Mattie, our lives have become more fluid and directionless. Which is another reason I continue to write the blog. It is intentional..... it makes me organize thoughts and feelings, recount memories of Mattie, and as it did from the beginning, the blog tells a story. The story of an amazing little boy, who continues to be life's greatest teacher to his mom. AND YES THAT IS INTENTIONAL!!!

It was absolutely frigid today! With the wind chill, it is in the single digits. That of course doesn't stop Sunny from walking. We did two, 2 mile walks today. In between walks, I made homemade vegetable soup! As you can see my side kick was in the kitchen with me!
The final product!

January 4, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2004. Mattie was two years old and as you can see his side kick, Patches the calico cat, was with him. Seeing this photo makes me chuckle because both Mattie and Patches were fascinated with the big Christmas packing boxes under the stair case. They both wanted to pull  out the boxes and inspect inside. Mattie knew there were presents inside these boxes and his curiosity was getting the best of him. Patches on the other hand just loved boxes. They were her play toy. We miss this great duo in our home. 

Quote of the day: If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people. ~ Virginia Woolf

Peter and I have been working over the course of the last month with a group of social workers on a publication about the Standards. These are not just any social workers, as they are leaders in their field and were integral in writing the 2015 Psychosocial Standards of Care. In reality, if Peter and I had insightful individuals like them during Mattie's care journey, I may have felt slightly different about the psychosocial care we did receive.

Having the opportunity to work with researchers and clinicians in this intense manner is actually refreshing because I can share thoughts and memories with them and they aren't going to run the other way. Instead, they seem to tell me that my insights help them think about things in a different light. My one issue that I flagged in the publication revolves around combining palliative care with end of life care. 

So what is palliative care? Well I bet if you surveyed friends and family members, the number one thing they would associate palliative care with is dying. Yet this is the biggest health care myth. Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical and nursing care for people with life-limiting illnesses. It focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and physical and mental stress. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the child and the family. Although it is an important part of end-of-life care, it is not limited to that stage. It is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness and can be provided as the main goal of care or along with curative treatment.

I believe as we write this article we have a responsibility to break the myth. To enlighten those who read this article that palliative care is a service that should be provided to all children with cancer and their families starting at the time of diagnosis. After all, such a team approach can help manage pain better, stress, and enhance quality of life. If palliative care was provided right from the beginning as it is intended to be, then I believe the myth that this care is offered only at the end stages would dissipate. Right now most physicians get visibly anxious bringing up the words palliative care to their families because of the fear that they are implying the child is going to die. Therefore if palliative care becomes a standard of care from day one, this whole awkwardness would disappear and on top of that, it would provide more effective supportive care to the child and the family. 

When I saw palliative care and end of life care discussed together in the article, I expressed my honest feelings about this, as I would prefer seeing end of life discussed with bereavement care. Children can receive palliative care while pursuing a 'cure.' Yet the type of palliative care services and support given to a child who is dying is going to be quite different from the child who is in treatment. Therefore from my perspective anything that relates to death should be discussed together. I am simplifying the issue for the blog, but I think I am making my point. 

Another issue that arose through my dialogue today was memory items. It is quite standard that when a child is dying, the supportive care staff work with the child and the family to try to create legacy items or remembrances. I have major issues with this notion of legacy items. In fact, I remember after Mattie died, Peter and I were asked to speak at a conference about our loss. Before we spoke there was a presentation made by two social workers about the importance of creating legacy items for children and their families. They gave examples of the various items they helped children create, items that their parents can now turn to, to reflect upon and to help guide them as to how their children want to be remembered. All I know is after this presentation, Peter and I were both internally upset, angry, and ready to leave. When Mattie was dying we did not create legacy items with him. He was only 7 years old and the whole notion of talking to him about death, a concept that is hard enough for an adult to comprehend much less a child, wasn't happening. However, because we did not have these tangible items, this conference presentation made us feel guilty.... as if we did something wrong. That we weren't honoring Mattie's life the right way, since we certainly did not have any guide from him has to how he wanted to be remembered. It took me a long time to pull myself out of that guilt and tail spin, and I must admit that content from that session still whirls around in my mind today. 

But here's the thing which I mentioned today. Legacy items are more meaningful when they are created when the child is alive and fighting. After all it is that courage, bravery, and spirit parents wish to remember. NOT a hand or footprint taken right after the child died. I have several hand and footprints that were created right in front of us the day Mattie died. To this day, I refuse to look at any of those prints. Those prints remind me of Mattie's harrowing 5 hour death! I don't want to remember him that way. So though these are intended to be legacy items, I don't use them in that way at all. Instead, Mattie's legacy items were all the items he created in the clinic or in his hospital room during his 14 month journey. Those items are important to me, but I can't tell you how many years it took for me to come to this understanding. 

So what I am getting at is professionals need to rethink this whole notion of legacy items. Absolutely items are needed and cherished by parents, but why must these items be collected toward the end of life? Why not reframe the whole notion of legacy items to be items and mementos the child created throughout their journey. If the social workers who spoke at the conference's legacy session had chosen their words more carefully or thought outside the box, Peter and I would not have left feeling even worse than when we entered the room. Which is why I think it is important for research articles pertaining to the Standards be written taking into account the parent's voice! Thankfully we work with researchers and clinicians who take what we say to heart. I can't change everyone, but I know they are listening. 

January 3, 2018

Wednesday, January 2, 2018

Wednesday, January 2, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2007. That night we took Mattie to Brookside Gardens in Maryland. This is a beautiful garden by the spring and summer, but in the winter time they transform the space with lights. You literally walk through a frozen garden and see an incredible light display. Mattie loved this experience and after a walk in the cold they gave us hot chocolate and cookies. Of course Mattie, being a chocolate hater, did not appreciate the hot cocoa, but he definitely ate the sugar cookie. That was the first and last time we ever did this light event. The next Christmas, Mattie was dealing with cancer. 

Quote of the day: We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be. ~ Jane Austen

In the midst of doing a bunch of things today, I came across an article entitled, Understanding neurobiology of trauma will enable counselors to help clients heal permanently from it. This article is located in The Advocate Magazine, which is a publication of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. An Association in which I served as the president in 2008-2009. Do these dates ring a bell? They are the years Mattie battled and died from cancer. That's a whole other story, as I was the youngest elected president of a national organization (with 6,000 members), and yet couldn't effectively serve my role. In the scheme of things, this lost opportunity is a small issue on the grander totem pole of issues!

This article title is featured on the front cover of the magazine. So it caught my attention. Naturally dealing with trauma, specifically trauma from loss, interests me because I personally live it. So I read the article. I was fine with the description of trauma. Dr. Judith Swack, the founder of Healing from the Body Level Up (HBLU), feels there are two types of trauma: from loss and from violence. She feels that trauma is organized into layers, that it has a structure. Each layer needs to be addressed in therapy, because if not the symptoms will return. Which is why she feels standard treatments are not effective. Brain imaging have helped understand how the human brain is altered by trauma. As if the trauma makes aspects of the brain go off-line, making it impossible to process what and when the trauma happened. So in essence the sympathetic nervous system remains on and with that comes somatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and body pain. 

It isn't a very long article, and the second half of the article tries to give an overview of HBLU. The acronym was constantly used in the article, without a full description of what HBLU actually stood for. That was my first problem with the article. I also couldn't follow the methodology, so I quickly Googled Judith Swack and HBLU and I found her website. I included a short video of Dr. Swack below so you can see her discuss this model, a model which apparently has been around and effective for 30 years. In a way it is a self help model because the goal is to take the lessons learned in therapy home with you, you internalize them, and then apply them to yourself whenever feeling anxious or experiencing negative emotions. 

The premise of Dr. Swack's model is that our subconscious mind controls 90% of our lives and the conscious mind runs very little. So the fact that we think we have control over our lives, isn't really the case. Therefore the goal of her model is to get in touch with this subconscious part/voice. This philosophy already bordered beyond my logical comfort zone, but then watching her demonstrate how a few taps and touches on certain parts of a patient's body could transform someone's thinking, SHE LOST ME. I mean ABSOLUTELY lost me. Dr. Swack claims that her model can help address just about every problem from medical issues, food cravings, to relationship concerns. WOW! Could I see it helping with medical trauma, or more specifically with me????..... NO!

I think the notion of the article was well intentioned. But given its title, I was expecting to really hear about the science of trauma, and through that scientific knowledge understand the methodology of its treatment. Not only did it not accomplish that, I am left with more questions then answers, and I am wondering why more space wasn't allotted to deal with this difficult topic. 

If you are interested in what I have been discussing, feel free to read the article yourself, go to Dr. Swack's website and even watch the six minute video! Come to your own conclusions. 

The article:

Dr. Swack's website:

Healing from the Body Level Up (HBLU):

January 2, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 -- Mattie died 433 weeks ago today.

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. This was classic Mattie! Always found the humor in all activities! As you can see, Mattie grabbed a pair of Peter's jeans, and decided he wanted to put them on. Naturally they were way too big for him. But that did not stop him. I thought the whole scene was hysterical, so I snapped a photo! Meanwhile, do you notice the shirt Mattie was wearing? Mattie was in LOVE with Lightning McQueen, a movie character. I can't tell you how many times we saw that movie, or how many little cars we had from that movie. In fact, I still have several cars on display in Mattie's bedroom. 

Quote of the day: Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back. ~ Jodi Picoult

As my faithful blog readers know, for the last month, Peter and I have been the caregiver to our neighbor. Our neighbor is an older adult, who had an accident and spent close to two weeks in the hospital getting surgery and rehabilitation before coming home. How someone determined she was fit to come home and live independently is a WHOLE other conversation. I would have liked to meet the case worker who visited her two days after returning home, because in all good consciousness, I have no idea how this woman assessed the situation as being stable. Nothing about the situation has been stable. Starting with the fact that Peter and I had to rearrange furniture and rugs in the apartment immediately because they were a fall hazard. 

That is just the physical space issue! But then digging deeper, one has to ask.... how will you get food, prepare food, clean dishes, do housework, laundry, get mail from your mail box, pay bills, SHALL I GO ON???? These activities of daily living in my opinion weren't fully assessed, discussed, or planned! I understand my neighbor told her doctor and this case worker that she had support in place, but honestly it doesn't take much to scratch the surface and find out that the social network in question is not going to rise up to meet these demands. This is not a commentary on her network, as caregiving is HARD work. It is hard even when you know and love the person, but when you don't know the person, the likelihood that you are going to want to take on the expense and daily effort are much smaller. Which is exactly what I saw in your friendship network. 

Unfortunately in my case, there was a lot wrapped up into caring for my neighbor. It wasn't just me being a 'good' neighbor, I got entangled with my own fears for the future. After all, I looked at this woman has having no family or children to care for her, and it did not take long for me to connect the dots and see myself in her. I COULD BE HER!!! Well NOT totally, but you get the picture. 

Needless to say, when we left town over Christmas break, I set up a Sign Up Genius to make sure whatever friends she had would stop by to visit and potentially help. I created a check list of what needed to be done, arranged for her laundry to be done, and left her refrigerator stocked for the two weeks we would be gone. I will spare you on the expenses we incurred for six weeks (food, laundry, medications, medical supplies, etc). I think what caused both of us to pause and reevaluate what we were doing was time. Each day we spent two hours or more on caregiving tasks. So on average 15-20 hours a week. This was on top of Peter's job, my Foundation work, and walking Sunny. Honestly with caregiving, we never ate before 9:30pm, and were exhausted when we got into bed, just to wake up and start all over again the next day. I am no stranger to caregiving, but we also knew this plan wasn't sustainable or fair to us. 

So today, I confronted the issue. Before I could stop our caregiver role, I had to explain why we made this decision to our neighbor and I felt compelled to provide her resources in the community. As I do worry what will happen to her. I made several phone calls today on her behalf and started with our local meals on wheels program. Ironically the program I called won't service my neighbor because of delivery boundaries. We talked about the other food programs in my neighborhood, but as I told her NONE of them will deliver food. They will only provide it to you at their facility. Which won't work in this case. The place where I received the most help and resources was Iona Senior Services. I had the opportunity to talk to a social worker about the case and to hear about all the services Iona could provide our neighbor. In addition, the social worker referred me to other places as well to get more information. The social worker couldn't get over that Peter and I were doing all of this for over a month, and that we weren't related or close friends with our neighbor. She said our neighbor was blessed to have us. I have always had great respect for family caregivers. Both personally and professionally. I am sharing these three resources below, in case anyone else in the DC area needs access to such knowledge. 

Iona Senior Services
Directly helps 3,000 older adults and their family caregivers with the challenges and opportunities of aging.
4125 Albemarle Street NW, Washington, DC
(202) 895-9448

  • Can speak with Information and Referrals department and be assigned a social worker
  • They will provide case management and in-home delivered meals

FoggyBottom West End Village
Foggy Bottom West End Village is a nonprofit membership organization that provides services for its members to help them comfortably age in their community by supplying social events, health support, and many other offerings. 
2430 K Street NW, Washington, DC
(202) 333-1327

  • Grocery shopping
  • Take older adult to medical appointments
  • Home care assistance

Homecare Partners
HCP is an accredited and licensed, nonprofit home health agency.  We help seniors and adults with disabilities and their family caregivers with direct home care aide assistance and caregiver education and support. 
1234 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Ste. C-1002
Washington, DC 
(202) 638-2382

  • In home assistance with light housekeeping and laundry
  • Sliding Scale Basis based on income

January 1, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018

Monday, January 1, 2018

Tonight's picture was taken on January 1st of 2005. Mattie was two and half years old. As you can see I was trying to get Mattie to pose for a New Year's photo with me, but CLEARLY did not want to..... and didn't! I am trying to remember where I got the New Year's hat!! I suspect I kept them from a previous (pre-Mattie) cruise that I took. I thought Mattie would get a kick out of the whole notion of festive hats and noise makers. Unfortunately I was wrong! 

I would bet on this fact..... if I asked Peter how we spent New Year's Eve 2003, I have a feeling he would recount midnight in the same fashion I do. Mattie was 8 months old in 2003, and we had put him to sleep at his usual hour. However, before midnight he woke up and was hysterical. Crying, vomiting, and the list went on. He wasn't sick, this was just Mattie! HONESTLY! So at age 8 months, Mattie was awake to see the ball go down in Times Square on TV. 

Ironically Mattie did not like the New Year's hat, but as you can see Patches clearly did!!!

Quote of the day: For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~ T.S. Eliot

How do I feel about New Year's?! Well unfortunately I am NOT wild about it! Peter and I have no interest in watching the festivities, participating in festivities, going to parties, and FORGET the ball going down in Times Square. To us it is all meaningless. Would we have felt this way if Mattie were alive? I don't know! But my guess is we would feel differently! I will NEVER EVER forget New Year's 2010. As 2010, was a brand new year! A year where we were no longer parents. Our first year without Mattie in it. Leaving behind 2009, felt as if we were losing Mattie all over again. As if moving forward would mean that Mattie would be erased from the world as we know it. I realize none of this makes sense, but then again, I have learned grief isn't always rational. Now 8 years later, and many New Year's under our belt, ironically that same feeling of loss is evoked each time we face a new year.  

Peter flipped on the Rose Parade on TV. This parade has to be my all time favorite! It isn't only stunning and creative, but patriotic. It takes place in Pasadena, California. When I was in high school and living in California, my parents, grandmother, and myself had the opportunity to view the flower floats over the course of many New Year's. This is NOT something I ever did with Mattie. It isn't tied to his childhood, but instead to mine. Which maybe why I still deem it as fanciful, light, happy, and fun. This float was entitled, Caring for our Seas and was created by China Airlines. It won the International Award this year. 

The Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, is part of "America's New Year Celebration." The parade includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units and is followed by the Rose Bowl college football game. 

Originally started on January 1, 1890, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route, and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 100 international territories and countries. 

Rose Parade 2018 featured 44 floats, 20 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses, and 21 marching bands. 

This float won the Past President Award for most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials. This float was entitled, Dreams Take Flight.
This float won the Fantasy Award for most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination. It was entitled, Chivalry.
It was 24 degrees this afternoon! We got bundled up and took Sunny back to one of his favorite places to walk and sniff..... Roosevelt Island. The beauty of the Island in the winter is there is no traffic and congesting while trying to park. When living in the city, it is a wonderful to have an escape and space like this. 

We saw another cardinal today! Mattie LOVED cardinals. I have a feeling he loved them because of their color, as we both deemed red as our favorite color. Of course now when I see a cardinal, I take it as a Mattie sighting. 

We walk alone! 

December 31, 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Tonight's picture was taken in December of 2006. Mattie was four years old and it was a Christmas tradition to visit the US Botanical Gardens. It had something for everyone..... amazing holiday plant decorations (as you can see we were standing in front of a model of the US Capitol made completely out of plant material), greenery, and wonderful trains that moved around the plantings on tracks. 

Quote of the day: When your mind changes, the world changes. And when we respond differently to the world, the world responds differently to us. ~   By David Loy

As tonight's quote points out, it is important at times to have a mind set change, and to respond differently to the world. I am trying to take that stance as it relates to winter. It was one of those gray, raw, and frigid days in Washington, DC. It may have read 27 degrees on a thermometer, but with the wind chill it was much colder. Though we may want to stay inside, our furry friend needs to go out and walk. So we visited Roosevelt Island again today, and I tried to take the mindset that it wasn't that cold. When we got to the Island, I was VERY intrigued by the zebra stripping of ice on the Potomac River. Have you ever seen anything like this?

The only thing moving on the Island today were the birds. Mattie and I loved to spot cardinals. You couldn't miss this bird today, as his red color stood out among the barren trees. Yesterday there were a few people walking on the Island, but today there really was NO ONE. It was that cold. 
We might be cold, but Sunny in his fur coat, was nice and toasty! He was eager to go for a longer walk, and wasn't thrilled with us when we shortened the walk. 

Peter came home from our trip with a bad cold.... congestion, coughing, all that fun. So on Friday, I made a huge pot of homemade chicken soup. I threw in all sorts of things... white chicken, celery, carrots, zucchini, red pepper, onions, and pasta. This soup has been a wonderful lunch for several days now. I am joking with Peter, as I told him it is my soup that is getting him better.