Crazy. Kid.

This has pretty much been the face and par for the course in the Jeter household the past few days:

It's like someone stole our child and possessed him with some sort of demon.

Or maybe Mystic keeps sneaking candy up to his room, so he's just totally high on sugar.

Either way, I'm ready for this recent attitude to pass.

Being told to "shut up" by your 3-year-old in the mall isn't always the best experience.

Especially when you have to drop everything you are doing---because your inner mother tells you to do so---just to take him home and put him in time out.

It's even better when he screams and cries the whole way home because he didn't want to leave the mall.

Oh, three.

You really are a horrible number.

I'm ready for four.

Trick. Or. Treat.

So we live in a fairly religious town (more churches than trees), which means Halloween - God forbid - could not be celebrated on Sunday. So, we had to celebrate on Saturday.

(insert eye roll here)

But whatever, we played along. And Thaddeus had so much fun!

Trick or Treating was a totally different thing this year for him, and I loved seeing it through his eyes. 

He lasted about an hour, running from house to house, screaming, "TRICK OR TREAT!" before he finally pooped out.

Actually, he looked at me and said, "Mom, I'm pretty tired. Wanna sit down?"

So I knew it was time to pack up and go home.

The kid made a killing, though, before he was done. Tons of candy!

Happy Halloween to all. :)


Are you a member of Facebook?

If so, take a moment to "Like" Catherine Jeter Photography's profile.

Being a "member" of my page will open you up to all sorts of opportunities, including free photo shoots, and the current giveaway--a $25 Visa gift card.

Thank you for your support!

It's. Boudoir. Time.

Once again, I am offering boudoir sessions for those interested!

I have two dates in mind:

For Grand Rapids, Saturday, November 20, 2010.

For Denver, Thursday, December 30, 2010.

If you are interested, please let me know ASAP, especially if you live in the Grand Rapids area. I plan to have all photos processed within 1 week of session time, which will give you at least one month to create the perfect gift for your significant other (whether it be a calendar, a book, etc.)

For those of you in Colorado, obviously I won't be able to get the photos done before Christmas. However, if you wish to make them into a Christmas gift, let me know and I can send a gift-wrapped "IOU" that hints at the fact that there is something more coming his way.

Email me as soon as possible! My last sessions were so, so fun!


Life. With. Oxygen.

I feel like a whole new person.

Adding oxygen to my equation seemed to be just the thing I needed.


Even a day after surgery, I felt all day like I was refreshed and...pure. Isn't that weird? But I'm serious. Before, I felt so clouded and dark. And all day today, I felt pure. Like I could breathe. And I could function.

Waking up in the hospital yesterday was verrrry similar to my very first dilation, back in 2007. That's how bad my breathing had become. I noticed such a difference in my oxygen, that I actually got emotional. And I silently prayed to God, thanking Him.

Now, I'm working to take care of myself in the best way possible.

No soda.

No spicy food.

Nothing with wheat.

Nothing with yeast.

Nothing with gluten.

Basically, non-processed foods, meats, fruits and veggies.

Getting back to that place where I couldn't breathe is a horrifying thought. So even though my diet may have nothing to do with it, I might as well give it a shot. 

Hopefully, though, there is a noticeable improvement.

Thank you so much to all of you who delivered thoughts and prayers. I so appreciate it, you have no idea.

Surgery. Update.

After 7 tornado watches, several touchdowns, a few episodes of hospital television, a nice dose of anesthesia, one dilation, one dose of morphine, and two Saltine crackers later, I am home.

And I can breathe.

And not just breathe; but inhale deeply without any kind of surrounding sounds.
No gurgles. No Darth Vader accusations.


And it's beautiful. 

And I hope it lasts.

Thank you to everyone who offered up prayers. I'm a little sore tonight, because apparently the ENT was a little surprised at just how much work he had to do once he got in there. But I would take all the pain in the world if it meant I could breathe.

And I can.

So I'm happy.

God is so, so good.

Surgery. Today.

I have been counting down the days, hours, minutes, seconds until October 26.

I'm scheduled for surgery around 3pm this afternoon on my throat. Want the fancy schmancy words?




Balloon dilation.

All that really means, I think, is that they will be looking into my larynx and my bronchial tubes, and then dilating me with a balloon. Think angioplasty for the throat.

I currently have no inflammation and no scar tissue. So that's fantastic news. But my ENT in Grand Rapids thinks he can stretch my throat just a tad, so I've given him the go-ahead.

At this point, I'm thinking any little change has the potential to make a huge difference.

So, wish me luck.

I'll be back later to update on how things went.

Oh, and if you're lucky, I'll update while I'm still feeling the affects of anesthesia. 

That always makes for some good conversation.


As I was sitting here putting orders together for clients, I just realized something really annoying.

My business cards?

The ones I waited for two weeks to arrive in the mail before I could start shipping some of these things because I had run out?


They have the wrong phone number.

By one digit.


I combined my house phone with my cell phone, and somehow didn't notice.

I guess that's what I get for working into all hours of the morning.


On the flip side, this nasty weather created a cancellation for photos, which means Tom, Thad and I are headed to our friends' Stephanie and Troy's house tonight for some football, pizza, and other shenanigans. 

Hooray for beer!

Farm. Time.

On what could quite possibly be the last day that the sun ever shines in Michigan again (until, well, next summer), we decided to hit up the local orchard so Thad could do some orchard-ly type things.

Apple picking.

Pumpkin patch.

Hay rides.

Petting zoo.

Tractor rides.

Corn maze.

However, seeing as how he is my husband's son, he was only interested in one thing:

The sand box full of 18-year-old tractors. The one thing that I thought was kind of lame.


So, while he and Tom hung out there, I walked around and fed the goats, pet the strange looking cow, attempted the corn maze (but gave up after 30 seconds), and looked longingly at the pumpkin patch, knowing full well that I wouldn't be able to drag Thad over there to pick one out for Halloween.

Oh, and I ate a caramel apple. Oh my gosh, yum.

I did manage to snag a few pictures, though. I will say that. And Thad was a really good sport about looking at mommy's camera, giving a big fake grin, and saying, "Cheese!"

Maybe next year he'll be in to the petting zoo and such?

Oh, and all the way home, all he wanted to do was stop at the store and buy a pair of gloves.

So we did.

And now he's upstairs, in his bed, sleeping.

With his new gloves on.


Goodness, I love that little boy. He's just as weird as me.

Christmas. Sessions.

The Holiday season is [unofficially] here, and it's time to get your loved ones in their Sunday's best and smile for all those photos.

So, why not feel rewarded after having done so?

Right now, Catherine Jeter Photography is offering Holiday Photo Sessions for $160.

This price includes a 1-hour session, a CD with 10 selected images from your shoot, (1) 11x14 print, (2) 5x7 images and...

...24 personalized Holiday greeting cards!

This is a $375 value for $160!


And, even better? If you refer a friend--and they book a session--you get another set of Holiday cards for absolutely nothing.




So email me! 

Or call me.

Book your session today because slots are filling up fast, and the Holidays are right around the corner!


Sleep. Apnea.

Would you be impressed if I told you that I was blahging from my Equity & Remedies class?

Because I am.

Anyways, I went to the doctor today.

It's funny how those words just kind of roll off my tongue. Like, "I woke up this morning," or, "I blinked my eyes today."

I had to see my doctor since I'm going in for surgery on Tuesday. So, you know, she had to make sure that my heart was still beating and that I still had some sort of blood pressure. Then she had to charge me $35 to basically say, "Ok. You can have surgery."

Thanks, doc.

In all reality, I love my doctor.

But I really, really, really wish that I could just leave her office once - just once - and not have a prescription to refill or some sort of new disorder to research on the Internet.

While inspecting my throat today, she expressed her concerns that I may have sleep apnea.

I kind of blew her off, thinking that I knew a lot of people with sleep apnea, and most of them were 55-year-old, 700-pound men who wore breathing machines and slept in entirely different rooms from anyone else in their family.

But, then I got to class. And, for lack of anything better to do (especially pay attention to my professor), I started to research the disorder.

This is what I found the symptoms to include:

1. Loud snoring
Um, I don't know that you could classify it as "loud," but I am aware that I definitely snore (on occasion). In fact, my husband loves to inform me of those instances in which he spent the evening listening to the back of my throat make crazy gurgling sounds while my nose simultaneously tried to match it.

Thanks, honey. ;)
2. Restless sleep
All I can say is that I have actually dragged Tom to Bed, Bath & Beyond more than once to purchase feather overlays for our mattress. But I am THIS CLOSE to buying a sleep number bed.

Sleep, while it is my favorite activity, is not something I do well.
3. Sleepiness during the day time
If this is true, I could be the poster child for sleep apnea.

I have been known to sleep in my car on the side of the road, with the hopes of gaining at least a few minutes of rest before heading home to relieve the babysitter.

I have also been known to sleep in an IMAX movie.

I've even been that person that embarrassingly makes a hard jerking motion in the middle of class when I dream that I am falling fast toward the ground, and wake up right before smacking my face on the concrete.

I have spent all this time blaming my medication. Maybe it's a little bit of sleep apnea, too?

4. Weight gain
Oh, let's not even go there.

So there you have it, kids. Apparently I have sleep apnea. While sleeping at night, the folds of my neck attempt to suffocate me in short little intervals, for sometimes minutes at a time.
This would also explain why my friend, Tonya, after sleeping over at her place a few months back, told me that she freaked out in the middle of the night a couple of times because I stopped breathing.


Anyone want to trade for a body that isn't trying to kill itself!?

Three. Years. Today.

It was exactly three years ago, today, that I found myself in my ENT's office in Amherst, New York, begging for him to remove my trach tube.

It was exactly three years ago, today, that my ENT tried to argue with me on whether or not I needed the trach at all. 

My ENT thought it was absolutely necessary for me to have.

I thought it was absolutely ridiculous.

And, acting as my own advocate, I insisted that he remove it.
So, exactly three years ago, today, he did.

And I have been trach-free ever since.

I think what my ENT was failing to acknowledge at the time was that the only reason I got the trach in the first place was for the benefit of Thaddeus. Once he was here, and I was stable, I knew in my heart that that thing was coming out of my neck.

That thing that made it painful to turn my head to the left or the right.

That thing that required me to shower with cellophane wrapped tightly around my neck.

That thing that had me coughing up blood for nearly 6 weeks.

That thing that required me to use a suction straw and a generator, several times a day, and clean all the way down until I practically reached my lungs.

No one should ever have to go through that, let alone when they are 25 years old.

If you are reading this right now, and you have a trach, I admire your courage and your strength.

If you are reading this right now, and you don't think it could ever be possible to live through a trach, I ask you to understand that it wasn't exactly something I ever saw in my future, either.

Do you smoke? 

Because I promise you the good feeling brought about by those cigarettes is not worth any part of your life being lived with a hole in your neck.

And, while the possibility of another one looms over my head with each passing day that I live with this disease, I have to say now that I am definitely thankful that my time with the plastic tube was short-lived.

And I'm thankful that it helped to ensure the safe arrival of my favorite monkey.

I hope he reads this in 20 years and decides to save up for something really expensive as a way to say, "Thank you."

Just kidding, Thaddeus!

(sort of)

Insomnia. Related. Ramblings.

It's 4:26am. 

I've been awake since 2:24am.

That's always fun.


A few weeks back, when we took our trip to the UP, Tom realized that we had made the 7-hour drive home without packing his computer. In other words, it was sitting on the floor at the Holiday Inn in Ishpeming, Michigan.


Obviously, Tom was none too pleased.

He panicked. And, as all grown adults do in the midst of a panic attack, he acted in a way that was probably a little terrifying for Thad to witness.

Upon realizing his behavior, Tom quickly came to Thad's side, picked him up, and said, "Daddy's not mad at you, buddy. Daddy's mad at himself. Daddy made a mistake."

Since that conversation, whenever Thad finds himself having done something he wasn't supposed to have done, he says to me, "Mommy, I made myself a steak."


I just realized that I have no idea where I am going to conduct my externship for law school. I hate the law.

And, despite getting pretty decent grades, I don't know a thing about it.

So, is it cool to just walk in to some place and say something like, "Hey, look, I have to fill this requirement for my fifty-bazillion-dollar education but I am of absolutely no use to you. Is there any chance you could like, stick me in a file room one day a week so that I can get the credit for this and move on with my life? Yeah, I don't want to be a lawyer. I want to be a photographer. But it'd be a nice bonus if I could hang my law degree in my studio."

Would that be the kiss of death? Or do you think they'd appreciate my  honesty?


I am seriously stressed out to the max about a wedding book that I agreed to put together back in April. Poor girl.

I put the first one together and she wanted me to change a bunch of things. I don't mind the changes, but it's finding the time to do it.

She said to me, "It's ok. If I at least get it by Thanksgiving, that would be cool. But I've waited 5 years since getting married to actually have an album, so it's not like I'm in any hurry."



I'm seriously ready for some crazy people to start contacting me about photos. Even if they are just for my portfolio, I would love to add some creative images to my site.

And by creative, I am referencing the fact that I just viewed some bridal photos that involved a shot gun.

Tattoos also make for awesome photos.

Anyone willing to either (a) bare some skin for boudoir or maternity, or (b) throw on their wedding dress and go swimming in the river!?


I love this little girl.

For more, click here.

Sunflowers. And. Wine.

Tom brought home two things to me last night:

1. Sunflowers.

2. A bottle of wine.

One of the two was gone within 30 minutes.

It's been that kind of week.

Playing. Doctor.

Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you realize that everything everyone else around you is saying is just completely wrong.

Because at the end of the day, you are the one who knows you best. You are the one who knows your mind. You are the one who knows your body.

So, yesterday morning, after being truly fed up with my breathing, I called the ENT in Grand Rapids who first diagnosed me with Wegener's. I told him about my breathing troubles, and he fit me in right away...even though, uh, the wait list to see this guy is 4.2 miles long.

I heart him.

Anyways, he simply told me that he disagrees with my doctor in Cleveland. He thinks we should attempt to open my airway some more because (1) he can, and (2) it will improve my quality of life.


We also talked about reconstructing my trach scar site so that it isn't quite so horrendous, but we're going to hold off on that for now. Your body apparently doesn't heal as well while you're on Prednisone, so I think I'd rather wait for that time in my life when I have the best chance of this thing healing into something that almost no one ever notices. That will probably be sometime in the year 2012.

So yeah, surgery it is! On my throat, anyways.

I can't wait.

October 26th, sometime in the afternoon.

It's a Tuesday.

And it's 17 days away.

Have I mentioned I'm excited?

I will be able to breathe again for the first time in what seems like a year. 

Oh wait.

It has been a year.

My. Hubba. Hubba. Hubby.

So I'm feeling incredibly sorry for myself today.

Like, gorge myself on a bowl (or two) of carbs kind of sorry.

Since my lung tests came back looking good, and my airway tests came back looking good, my doctor has decided a "no go for launch" on any potential surgery to open up my airway a bit more.

Which means this heavy breathing that I am consistently prone to? This Darth Vader-like sound that people hear when I come down the hallway?

Yeah, it's here to stay.

And I'm feeling pretty fucking sorry for myself.

My breathing is getting worse and worse, and I can't for the life of me understand why. And no one with a medical degree seems interested in finding out the reason, either.

The last ENT I saw basically told me I should consider myself lucky because most Wegener's patients have even more limited space to breathe through.

But when I'm standing at the front of a classroom, gasping for air as I attempt to talk about test-taking strategies and different learning styles, it gets a little hard to truly consider myself lucky.
But I will say one thing.
In the midst of this Wegener's-induced hell I have found myself in lately, God has still managed to bless me with two incredibly wonderful people.

One? Thaddeus.


But the second one? The one I should be giving more credit to, but rarely do?

My husband.

I could not have been given a better advocate in my time of need. You could not find a stronger rock. You could not find a more solid support system.

Tom will spend an entire day with Thaddeus while I am in school, or at work, or just generally putzing around, and then still encourage me to take a nap when I get home. 

He refuses to let me do the heavy lifting, but he'll back off when he sees that fire in my eyes that says, "I will do this because I won't let this disease overcome me."

He understands when my motivation for life in general dips into the negative numbers and he picks up the slack.

He drops whatever he's doing in the midst of Thaddeus yelling, "Mommy! Play basketball with me!" to play basketball with Thaddeus because he knows it's just too much for me.

He complains about all the bills, but he never complains about the medical bills.

He still tells me I'm beautiful a hundred times a day, even though my super-duper-now-Halle-Barry-like haircut and the extra weight in my mid-section makes me think otherwise.

He will cross the street to get into a fight if he even thinks, for just a second, that someone may have disrespected me.

He loves me.

He holds my hand.

He rubs my legs when my medication makes them scream in pain.

He's a wonderful man.

A wonderful, wonderful man.

And I love him.

And I thank God for him every single day.

Good. News.

The phone call came from Cleveland and my lungs appear to be in good, healthy and working order.

Thank you to everyone who read my request for prayers after my doctor initially told me she had some concerns.

Now I can breathe easy.

Well, sort of.

Let. Them. Roll.

The thoughts, that is...

Anyone who has had the chance to speak with me in person over the past two or three years knows that it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between my breathing and the sound of my voice. They are both equally loud and obnoxious, I am sure. And then there are those who have absolutely no idea why I am breathing heavy, and feel the need to bring it up.
In front of everyone.

Like yesterday. When I was teaching. 

One of my students couldn't let it go. In the middle of my lecture, she interrupts to say, "OMG, is that YOU breathing heavy!? I was like, 'Wow, who is that making all that noise!? Is there someone snoring in here!?'"

I laughed it off and continued with my lecture, but I wanted to do so much more than that.

Much, much more.

I think it was the first time I legitimately felt self-conscious about my condition. I think my feelings were even a little bit hurt.


Thank you, Wegener's.

* * *

Tom and I had a date night last night.

I can honestly say, it was one of the more "stimulating" date nights we've had in a long time, but only because the conversation turned to things that I don't think we have talked about in a looong time. Like, since we were dating.

We didn't talk about Thaddeus. Or potty training. Or preschool. Or anything related to having a child.


We talked about future plans.

We talked about God.

We talked about God a lot.

We talked about a good friend of mine who's coming to visit here in a few weeks.

We talked about another good friend of mine who needs to bite the bullet and do something she totally doesn't want to do. But it will be totally worth it for her when she finally does.

And we drank beer.

Oh my, did we drink beer.

Oh, and then we went to see a movie about a horse. Which, admittedly, was better than I expected. 

I love you, "Meester Yater!"

* * *

In the midst of scanning all the different vendors on Etsy to figure out which bows I want to buy, which tutus look the cutest, and who has the best props for photos, I decided - wait a minute, I'm creative.

And I went to Hobby Lobby.

And Michaels.

And I bought a ton of stuff. 

I am going to learn to knit (legitimately, not just with a loom), and I intend to make diaper covers, hats and baby hammocks. I also intend to make hair bows, headbands and cocoons. And then I intend to supplement my photography business with these nifty little crafts.

Plus, it gives me something to do.

Because you and I both know, I often find myself bored with nothing to do.

It's not like I have a husband, son, job, hobby/job or academic career to tend to.


And. The. Winner. Is.

First, I want to say that I am seriously shocked at the responses to the giveaway...not because there were more than I thought there would be, but because I am completely blown away by how many people read my blahg that I never even knew did so! Or, even better, whom I have never even met! 

So cool.

And flattering.

Thank you to all for participating! 

Anyways, the winner is...

 ...Ms. Erica Combs. :)

So Erica, let me know if you'd like the necklace or the gift card, and I'll put your winnings in the mail...

Thanks to all for submitting such sweet comments!

I think I might need to make this a regular thing. :)