Conversations. With. The. Bank.

The following conversation took place a little over an hour ago, on my drive home from work, after my debit card was declined when it should not have been. Oh, and keep in mind, these are only the things I think the lady on the phone was saying; although, English wasn't exactly her first language, so I can only speculate.

Teller: Thank you for calling Chase bank. How can I help you?

Me: Um, yes, my card was just declined for a four-dollar sandwich. I need to know why.

(After a long time of verifying card numbers, mother's maiden names, pin numbers, social security numbers, height, size, weight, favorite color, bread preference and a host of other items, the conversation continued).

Teller: It appears your card has been compromised. We are sending a new one and have canceled your current card.

Me: Compromised?

Teller: Yes. Apparently an on-line merchant you used recently took your credit card information and attempted to make a separate purchase without your authorization. This is fraud.

Me: Ok. What merchant?

Teller: I'm not authorized to give you this information.

Me: Why?

Teller: For the merchant's security.

Me: So as a loyal customer, you are going to protect the merchant who is attempting to defraud me, instead of giving me their information so I make sure never to use them again in the future and put myself at risk of further fraud?

Teller: Uh.........

Me: Mmmkay. Can I speak to a manager, please?

Teller: Yes, but before I let you go, I want to thank you for being a loyal Chase customer and urge you not to be concerned. We caught the compromise and have canceled your card! Isn't that good news!?


Fighting. Fires.

I've posted the video of Thad singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider before, but I don't think I've quite shared the "actual" lyrics:

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

Went up the water spout.
Count all the rains.

That washed the spider out.
Count all the suns.

That firefight the rain.
And the itsy ... spider went up the water spout ... again!

Cute, right?
And totally perfect that, when I asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween this year, he answered, "A fire fighter!" (since, after all, after you count all the suns that fire fight the rain, the spider crawls back up the spout again).

Anyways, we ordered his costume super early because the simple mention of Halloween has had him declaring, "I want to be a fire fighter" every morning while getting him dressed.

So, when the costume arrived in the mail, he naturally wanted to put it on.

Hopefully the excitement doesn't wear off before the actual holiday...or we may end up shopping for another costume when all that's left to choose from are butterflies and giraffes.


Do you absolutely love this necklace?


Well, sit tight, there are still other options.

I got this necklace for myself when I was on a bit of an inner adventure to seek out those things that truly matter to me and mean something more than the obvious.

For me, my important meaning lies in air. Oxygen. Breath. Something I can't always get a lot of. I've always wanted the Gaelic tree that symbolizes 'oxygen' drawn onto my back. Whether I will be brave enough to ever do it, remains to be seen.

Until then, I shall wear the necklace.

And I want you to wear it, too!

I am giving this necklace away to one fabulous reader of my blahg.

All you have to do is:

1. Leave a comment in the comments section with your name; and

2. Tell me why you think this necklace is the bomb dot com.

Winner will be selected at random, by the way.

I get almost 100 hits to my blahg every single day, and I love that people continue to come back for more, even when I'm boring or neglecting my words. I just wanted to show my readers some love and appreciation. So, thank you.

And, if you think this is the ugliest necklace to ever grace the Earth, then you can tell me that, too. Instead, I can send you a $25 Visa gift card so you can buy any darn thing you want. 

Winner will be chosen this Friday morning, October 1.

More. From. Up. North.

Everyone always talks about the beauty that lies in the Upper Peninsula. And, until this past weekend, I could only take them at their word. It turns out, they weren't lying. :)
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is definitely a sight to see. It's beautiful. Majestic. Awe-inspiring. Shamefully located in the wrong state.

And it was a lot of fun.

I had, at the very last minute, committed to photographing a wedding up in Ishpeming with a friend of mine, Mike. So, Tom and I decided to make a little mini-vacation out of it.

You know --- skip school, leave a day early, miss work, and drive at a slow pace with the hopes of never having to return to reality.

Unfortunately, that last part didn't come true. But we did drive slow enough to capture some really nice photos.

And, it was a total bonus having the entire weekend to spend with my guys almost completely uninterrupted. 

Tomorrow our lives resume to what they once were --- school, work, the usual.

I have been blessed to have been so incredibly busy with photography lately; however, I am taking a couple weeks off to catch up on school. Editing is now currently on the back burner, as are all photo shoots and marketing attempts. My next round of photos is set to take place in early October, when I host my Halloween/Fall mini-sessions. I got some fantastic props/backdrops for each of those too, so I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Oh! And of course, tomorrow we go to Chuck E. Cheese since, ahem, Thad did poop in the potty. ;)

Up. North.

So the family and I have decided to take a weekend trip up North to check out the leaves and such.

On the way up here, Thad told us he really needed to potty.

Admittedly, we don't have a lot of practice with Thad going potty on road trips so we were totally caught off guard.

So we pulled over.

And, for the first time, he attempted to legitimately stand while peeing.

Knowing he is going to look back and read this some day makes me feel bad, but it was seriously too funny and too cute to not blahg about.

And take a picture of.

(Tom told me that it's illegal to post a picture of my kid's naked butt now that he's older. Sorry, friends. You'll have to imagine it for yourselves.)

Sorry, buddy. It had to be done.

He didn't succeed, in case you're wondering. I think it was all a little too much for him. Lol.

He did, however, manage to hold it for another hour or so until we found a gas station.


And, to top off this story about my child's patterns with the potty, we have been (rather unsuccessfully) trying to get him to poop in the potty. My mom told him - over a month ago - that as soon as he did, she would take him to Chuck E. Cheese.

Well, tonight he did it.

This was literally what I heard from the bathroom:

"MOM! I did it!"

"Can I go to Chuck E. Cheese?"

"I need to call grandma and grandpa."

So we did. And I think it made her night. He was so proud of that little poop in the toilet, lol.

Tomorrow we head deeper into the Upper Peninsula. I'm excited. The leaves thus far have been absolutely glorious. Red, yellow, orange. Seriously brilliant. 

More pictures to come. :)

Health. Updates. From. Cleveland.

On the entire 5-hour drive home from Cleveland this evening, I listened to David Gray. It brought me back to a place that I needed to be.

And it helped.

My appointments in Cleveland didn't exactly go the way that I expected them to go today.

A little disappointing, actually.

First of all, my Ear, Nose & Throat doctor (well, the Resident) noted that my ear drum is inverted in my right ear. Not only did she make me scared out of my mind, but she had me convinced that I would be deaf by the time I turn 30.

Thankfully, my Rheumatologist---the woman I would totally believe and trust if she told me I was African American---set the record straight and made me feel much better. Sure, the possibility of going deaf is there...but it isn't imminent.

It isn't guaranteed.

In fact, the inverted ear drum is most likely the result of a recent ear infection (back in April) and we are just going to monitor it.

No big deal.

The second thing that came up was my airway.

My airway is free and clear. No inflammation. No scar tissue. I am open to about 60/40 capacity (basically, my airway is 60% the size of a normal airway...this is good, considering most Wegener's patients are running around at about 30 or 40%). 

The problem lies in the fact that my breathing has been horrible over the past few months. 

So horrible, in fact, that I was almost positive I would be scheduled for surgery while I was at the doctor today.

But nope.

No surgery because my airway doesn't need it.

The bad news is the fact that my lungs may be the issue now.

Doctor Langford is concerned that I am struggling to breathe so much when my airway looks so clear. So she has ordered a CT scan of my lungs, and after the results are delivered, I will head back to Cleveland to visit a lung specialist.


I feel like I use this word so often, it was one of the first words that Thad probably ever said.

So, after all of this news, I, of course, had a bit of a break down. It wasn't even a break down, per se, but just a moment of panic.

Just when I think that we have this disease under control, and that I am lucky to have it in such a concentrated area, it goes out and throws me a curve ball. Just when I think I am invincible---even from Wegener's---it proves me wrong.

I had momentary flashes of Thad growing up without a mom.

And this, of course, caused the break down.

But, thankfully, I came to my senses. We're all allowed a break down every now and then, right?

I pulled my shit together and remembered that I am going to kick Wegener's ass. Not the other way around. 

I refuse to allow this fucking disease to keep me from watching my child grow up and have children of his own.


Dear Thad,

Last night, when I went to tuck you in to bed, I noticed that you had had a little accident. So, while daddy stripped your bed, cleaned your sheets, and put new sheets on the bed, I pulled you into our bed with me while you slept.

It reminded me of the days when we first brought you home from the hospital. 

The nurse had told me that a baby could be calmed by the simple scent of his mother's skin.

So, on those early mornings when you were ready to get up before the rest of the world---including me and daddy---I would pull you into bed, touch your nose to mine, and we would fall back to sleep together.

There was always a wonderful feeling that would sweep over me in those moments, knowing that for 10 months prior to those days, we had formed a connection strong enough to silence your tears with the touch of my hand, or the scent of my skin.

Now, as you have grown, I often miss those moments. They are the memories that bring a smile to my face when you wake me in the morning with your big smile, your sleepy eyes, and your chirping, "Good morning, mommy."

They are the memories that prompt me to pull you into bed, let you watch cartoons, and snuggle with you until you're ready to get going with your day and have some breakfast. 

Listening to your quiet little snores last night brought me back to those mornings when I had the pleasure of holding you close, and all to myself. 

It's hard to believe that time continues to move so quickly. Soon enough, your morning will no longer consist of coming into mine and daddy's room to wake us up for the day. Your willingness to let me hold you will fade, and your desire to snuggle during the morning cartoons will be erased. 

Would you believe that I still remember the very last time that I ever held my own mother's hand? I remember it so vividly, because I remember the simultaneous thought in my head that told me I was too old to be doing something like that. 

Holding hands was for babies. Little kids.

Not me.
But just so you know, on the day that you have those same thoughts, keep in mind that you are wrong.

In my eyes, you will never be too old to hold my hand, or to snuggle with me in the mornings. I will forever treasure you as my baby, even when you are old and grown.

Remember one of our favorite stories?

"I'll love you forever. I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."


Glad. That's. Over.

One of the biggest stressors I face on an annual basis is getting Thad to cooperate for his obligatory photos.

I stopped doing the 1/2 pictures because he was just too tough to deal with. But of course, I couldn't get away with not doing photos for his third birthday.

And yes, Thad is (was...but I'll get to that later) difficult to take photos of, despite the number of cute photos I have actually managed to capture.

If you know photographers, you know that they never just take "one" picture. Instead, they take one hundred, and hope that at least one of them comes out.

So yeah.

My last three attempts were epic fails. 

But apparently a switch came on this time around.

Or, maybe it was because I let him play with water. 

But either way, I got the shot.

And I'm pleased! 

The first photo is what I will be sending to grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. in an 8x10. The other two photos will be going out to friends in wallet sizes and 4x6.

Enjoy. :)

The. Circus.

There are a few factors that go into making a decision like the one I made the other day, to take Thad to the circus.

One, I have been to several Cirque du Soleil shows and have loved them more than words can explain. They have me leaving in awe of my entire life in general, wishing that I had worked on my splits a little more when I was 5, instead of playing softball.

Two, I love watching crazy animal tricks.

Three, I secretly think it would be fascinating to watch a rogue tiger take a chunk out of his trainer's thigh. Sick, I know.

And four, I have a kid. Who doesn't want to take their kid to the circus!?

So we went.

And it was one word: LAME.

And when I say that it was "lame," I mean it in the "my 3-year-old son was totally bored" kind of way. At one point, he had his back turned to the arena, and was sitting on the floor playing with the motorcycle toy we had bought for him.
Like, there are people jumping through fire hoops, and he was more interested in watching his plastic motorcycle go back and forth on a chair covered in nacho cheese, presumably from the previous nights' circus attendees.

The only cool thing was the elephants. There were several of them, and I loved just watching them. Beautiful animals, those elephants.

But even the tigers were lame. They kept them in their cages, and had them raise their paws on command. Big deal. My cat does the same thing when I put a spoonful of ice cream in her face.

And the clowns?

Oh dear God, the clowns.

 First of all, they weren't clowns in the traditional sense of the word. They were more like mid-20-somethings in baggy pants and sideways visors who knew how to jump on trampolines and run around. They didn't even have face paint on.

Their magic tricks were actually obvious, and when they did something they deemed to be 'impressive,' I swear they did it for 20 minutes at a time. I mean, am I getting old? Or does that sound lame? I figure if you can't even keep Thad entertained (the kid likes to pop bubble wrap), then you have a total and complete epic fail on your hands.

I was able to get some photos, although not the best quality. It was the one time I wished I had brought my zoom lens with me. Oh well.

Three. Year. Check. Up.

Weight: 33 pounds

Height: 39 inches

Blood Pressure: 84/54

Vision: 20/30

Overall, a happy, healthy turd! ;)

A. Few. Things.

1. Thaddues's first day of preschool didn't go as I had always envisioned in my mind.

He didn't sit on the rug and listen quietly while the teacher read a story. 

Instead, he made loud snoring sounds.

He didn't greet his new teacher with great enthusiasm and joy.

Instead, when she told him he needed to sit on the carpet while he was playing with the sand, he said, "You make me MAD."

He didn't leave the building with his craft in one hand, holding my hand with the other, telling me all about how excited he was to come back.

Instead, he threw himself on the ground in a fit of rage and anger because he didn't get to go on the playground.


At least he's mastered the art of "cheesy grin whilst closing my eyes when my mom commands me to take a picture."

We go back on Wednesday. Let's hope it's not the first time in history that a preschooler is sent to the principal's office.

* * *

2. So, my mom and Aunt Tracey just finished the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this past weekend.

39.3 miles over the California coastline.

Not an easy task.

Apparently, for some photo opps, they dropped Fergie off - with her husband - about a half mile from the finish line, to make it look like she, too, had walked for the cause.

Um, Fergie?

Since I know you read my blahg and all, I'd like to take this moment to let you know that you're an ass hat. 

Showing up in your pink jumpsuit with "Team Fergie" on it - with your lipstick perfectly applied, and your hair untouched - is downright disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of women who not only dedicate themselves to the cause for real, but who had also endured a great deal of pain in the past two days to prove just how dedicated they were.

I think you should do us all a favor and next time, just send a check in for some un-Godly amount of money and be done with it. Don't make a mockery of the whole thing.

By the way, did I mention you're an ass hat?

* * *

3. We still can't get Thad to poop in the potty. 

He's afraid he's going to fall in.

So today, he pooped in his Pull Up, and after one sniff, I said, "Ew, Thad, that smells disgusting."

To which he replied, "YOU'RE disgusting."

Quick as a whip, that child.

Quick. As. A. Whip.

Moment. Of. Panic.

I am not even going to lie when I say that Thaddeus will be going to preschool in T-minus 8 hours, and I am sort of freaking out.

Where in the hell did my baby go?

It's like he completely vanished out of thin air, and all of a sudden I have this 3-foot-something walking around my house, singing songs, calling me "mom" instead of "mommy," begging for the soda that he's never going to get, and saying things like, "I don't know," when I ask him what he's doing and he knows he's doing something wrong.

I so badly want to go back to those days when he laid on my chest all day and all night, until Tom practically forced him away from me, insisting that I was going to give our child some sort of complex.

I miss the smell of his little baby head and the sounds he used to make when he drank an entire 4 ounces of milk. 

I miss the days when we thought he was a total pig because he drank 4 ounces of milk.

I miss the sounds of the Rainforest Jumperoo and laying on the ground with him while he played with squishy toys and I studied for school.

I miss the days when he got more solid food on his face and his clothes than he did in his mouth.

I miss the days of waking up to hear him on the baby monitor, cooing at each and every one of his stuffed animals.

I can't even imagine how hard Kindergarten is going to be, if preschool is having this kind of effect on my emotional state.

I just want my monkey to stay little forever.

Is that too much to ask?

Getting. Inked.

I've never, ever, ever had a desire to get a tattoo.

Well, maybe once when I was 18, I had the desire simply because I was technically and legally allowed to have the desire. But I had no idea what I wanted or why I wanted it.

Now that I am older, and have had a myriad of significant things happen in my life, I feel a bit differently. Tattoos have been a lot more culturally accepted, and I more recently started to feel the itch.

I didn't want anything that wouldn't have the same heartfelt meaning for me as it did the day that I got it. 

I once saw a girl with a Hello Kitty tattoo, and the first thing I thought was, "You're going to hate yourself more than you could have ever imagined when you are 47 years old."

Hello Kitty? Really?

But then again, who am I to judge what is meaningful and what is not when it comes to other people?

In my own situation, I can think of two things that I would find "ink-able." 

1. Something related to Thaddeus.

2. Something related to Wegener's.

I went the Thaddeus route.

Thaddeus's name means "praise."

The word for "praise" in Gaelic is "moladh."

Since I'm proud of my Irish heritage, I figured this was the best combination of both worlds.

And I love it. I absolutely love my new tattoo.

And in case you're wondering, no, it didn't hurt. :)

In. Case. You're. Wondering.

I let home girl right here do a good bit of cleaning up. In fact, for about an hour, she ran around, destroying her web, and then wrapping it all up in the silk that she pulled from her body.

It was beautiful, really.

But then my knight in shining armor came downstairs, opened the sliding glass door, and smashed her.

Sorry, little spider friend. But it needed to be done.

Something tells me you were about to lay 1,400 little baby spiders right outside my window, and I just couldn't have that.

Oh, and stay tuned!

In a couple of hours, Tom and I are headed downtown so I can get my first tattoo. 

I think it'll be pretty cool. :)


But cool.

Catching. Up.

It seems like it's been forever since I last blahged. In reality, it's been all of 6 days; but I think it feels like forever because the last week (or two, or three) have been crazy busy. 

My head, I am hoping, will stop spinning within the next few days. Though, it's doubtful.

So, since we've had so much going on, I guess I'll update everyone on the past 6 days since my very last boudoir shoot...

1. After my last boudoir shoot on Saturday, I drove up to Evergreen just in time to photograph a rehearsal dinner. While taking a photo of the bartender at said rehearsal dinner, I stepped backwards for a better angle and ended up taking a nice little leap off a ledge that I was unaware even existed. I rolled my ankle as far as it would go without snapping and am currently on crutches.

So, that was awesome.

2. The next day, me and my severely sprained ankle braved the smallest road known to man at the top of a huge-ass mountain to take photos of this beautiful bride:

Everything about her dress and flowers screamed to me "dream wedding of my own" so I lived vicariously through her as I took pictures.
3. The next day, Thad and I flew home to Michigan. He sat on the plane the entire time, with his seat belt buckled, listening to music. Have I mentioned that since turning three, he has been a dream child? I think I've raised my voice maybe once (?) in over a week. It's shocking really. 

And awesome. 

It's really, really awesome.

4. Upon arriving home, I learned that this [not so] little guy had decided to build his home directly outside of our sliding glass door.

In reality, this spider is about 2 or 3 inches in length, so depending on what kind of computer screen you are looking at, this photo is true to size. Disgusting, right? And yet I can't bring myself to order his death, since it's so incredibly fascinating watching him work.

I've seen this thing devour a bug and fix its web.

I've watched it curl up and take a nap. 

How could I possibly ask Tom to kill it?

(No worries, my heart will eventually turn black...his days are numbered).

5. Thaddeus has asked at least 4,873 times if he can "go back to school." I keep reminding him that he starts on Monday.

6. I started back to school.


I hate school.

7. I've edited 6 of 12 boudoir shoots, and still have the remaining 6 to go. I also have two weddings to edit.


8. I've lost 20 pounds. And I'm still losing. :)

9. I plotted out and dreamt of my major plan to wipe out all of the insurance companies that keep trying to screw up my regimen. Each time I get on a medication that really, really works, some big shot at United Health Care decides that I don't need it and refuses to cover it. I'm sorry, but when did insurance big-wigs start earning their medical degrees before running huge corporations?

Oh that's right, they don't. 

They're just huge asshole know-it-alls (like several people I know in law school).

10. Tonya, come visit me in Michigan!!!

That's. A. Wrap. (Rap?).

I assume it's 'wrap.' But to be honest, I am so tired right now, I'm not even sure how to spell my first name.

I had such an awesome, awesome time doing the boudoir photos. I've decided to make it a regular thing. So if you're reading this, and you're interested, drop me a line. I am already starting to plan the boudoir party for the Christmas holiday (um, can you say mistletoe, Santa hats, and black high heels!?). 

But for those of you in Michigan, we can do one anytime, day or night (although, I'd prefer day).
And, in case you're wondering, yes --- I did a couple's photo shoot. I won't name any names, but I have to say, they were probably the most beautiful photos I have ever seen. And I'm not saying they're beautiful to compliment myself, I'm saying that the image created by these two people (so totally in love) are absolutely magical in every way.

I think one day, I might actually want to do the exact same thing with my own hubby. 

You hear that Tom? ;)

Although I wonder what would happen if Thad ever came across them --- I fear they might scar him for the rest of his life. Lol. Oh well. I'm still going to give it some thought.

Here's a sneak peek of another one of the photos I captured today. All of the women were absolutely beautiful, and so willing to do anything. It was like a dream! 

If you or someone you know is interested in booking a session --- whether it be for your family, or for personal use --- contact me at catherinejeter@mac.com.  :)

So. Far. So. Good.

So I have three hours between boudoir shoots today, and instead of using the time like I should -- getting lunch -- I am instead editing some of the photos.

First of all, the room is working out much better than I could have imagined. The colors are great. The bed is great. I love it.
Second of all, my clients thus far have had some great ideas. I was worried that they would come with almost nothing to wear, and then expect me to come up with 100% of the ideas. Thankfully, so far so good. 

Each of them has been totally willing to work with my "artistic vision" and they have been very vocal as well - "This is what I like, this is what I don't like."

Easy peasy.

Isn't she so stinkin' gorgeous!?

We had Spanish class together over 10 years ago, when we were both in high school. I even said, "Did you ever imagine that we would go from Spanish class to this!?!?" Lol. That gave us both a good laugh.

This next one was her idea. Her boyfriend had bought her this Rockies jersey awhile back, and she figured he'd love to see her wearing it with some sexy high heels. So awesome.

I have so many more to edit, and so many more photo shoots to go. I feel like I should have labeled this weekend 'Boudoir-palooza.' I'm loving all of this work!

Losing. Those. Cheeks.

Want to see something scary?

I mean like, really, really terrifying. You might even have nightmares.

Ok, fine. You asked for it.

This is me, 2 months into my treatment for Wegener's, on 60mg of Prednisone per day. Yes, that's a lot; however, I know people who have taken even more.

And, just for reference, here is a photo of me only one week before I began treatment:

What a difference two months can make.

I told you it was scary!

Prednisone is probably my worst enemy. I hate it even more than I hate the taste of peas. And I struggle with my internal battle over Prednisone even more than I did with that girl in high school who wore the Nike sneakers and always acted like she was better than me (just a side note - since I let her consume my thoughts so often, she probably WAS better than me).

Anyways, my point.

Thankfully, my battle with Prednisone, while still going on, is coming to an end. I hope, anyways.

I am down to 5mg per day, and slowly but surely, that weight is coming off.

At one point, the skin on my face was being pulled so tight, that I could not lay on my back at night because it felt like I was suffocating. I could see my cheeks out of the corners of my eyes. It actually even hurt to smile. 

But things are looking up. 

This is me today:

I still have a ways to go, but if I look hard enough, I think I can make out the actual shape of my face.

I can no longer see my cheeks in my eyes.

I can actually sleep on my back.

I don't actually look like someone tore open my face at the forehead, and poured a gallon of water into my head.

And the weight is not only coming off in my face, but it's coming off on the rest of me as well. My entire time in Colorado has been spent in a pair of jeans that I haven't worn in over a year. 

And while Prednisone has done me a lot of harm on the outside, I have to admit that it has done wonders for me on the inside. Any patient on Prednisone will tell you that they have a love-hate relationship with it. They love it because it keeps them from lying 6 feet in the ground, but they hate it because of the way that it makes them look and feel.

Not only that, but watching myself transform into a balloon has done wonders for my self esteem, now that that balloon is slowly beginning to deflate. I no longer feel so uncomfortable in my own skin, and I actually feel pretty, dammit.

One year ago, you couldn't pay me one million dollars to pose for the camera. But slowly, I am coming out of that shell. I am less reluctant to have photos taken of myself and more willing to blast my pearly whites.

I will beat this stupid disease no matter what. I'm ready to be myself again. :)

Happy. Birthday.

September 1, 2007.


7 pounds, 6 ounces.

You were, quite literally, my angel.

But you know that.

Then, September 1, 2008...
In that first and second year, you taught me patience. You taught me strength.
And you taught me love like I never knew.

Then, September 1, 2009...

Your third year has been the toughest so far, and yet it has also been the most fun and the most rewarding. I have watched you go from using words like "mama" and "ball" to using words like "beautiful" and "amazing."

You can shoot a basketball from half the length of the house, and make a perfect "swish." You then typically run around the house, screaming, "I'm a good basketball player!"

You haven't quite mastered the art of pedaling a bike, but you love your bike nonetheless.

You love to play any sport that involves a ball, more recently the game of golf.

Your favorite book is a book about fire trucks.

Your favorite thing to eat is chicken. In fact, grandpa continuously voices his concern that you are going to turn in to one giant chicken tender.

You love your Mystic cat. She loves you too, despite sometimes being tortured by you.

You love to paint and color, but you don't have the patience to apply more than 10 minutes to creating a project. You'd rather be running around outside, or playing with trucks. Because of this, mommy usually puts the finishing touches on your art pieces.

You have at least 1,478,390,276 Matchbox cars. 

You have a name for each of your 1,478,390,276 Matchbox cars.

You have given up your morning "shake" of warm milk mixed with fruit. Your morning now consists of climbing into bed with mommy and daddy and watching Sesame Street or Caillou.

Oh, how you love Caillou. 

You're growing up so much. You like showers, instead of baths. You've started to call me "mom" as opposed to "mommy." You cherish your freedom, and sometimes prefer to go upstairs to your room, rather than hang out downstairs with mom and dad.

Grandpa more recently gave you your first taste of soda, and now, whenever you get the chance, you ask me for a Diet Coke. Unfortunately for you, I refuse to oblige.

You've had a camera in your face every day for almost three years and have since mastered the art of putting your hand into the air and saying, "Stop. No more pictures, mommy."

You can name any kind of construction truck you see.

You love to vacuum and help me with the laundry.

Your new favorite word is "poop." You giggle every time you say it, and yesterday you told grandma that you wanted poop for dinner.

You are such a boy.

You have yet to cooperate for your three-year photos, so I don't have one to match the others that I have posted in this letter. But I'm sure I'll snag it eventually. You'll do almost anything I ask if I bribe you with a trip to Target, or a piece of candy. 

I love you, monkey. You are still my angel. And you will always, always, always have my heart.