Holy hell, it's cold.


Spring has been here for all of 7 days, and I swear it has actually gotten colder.

Tonight, when Thad went outside to play with his little girlfriend next door, I had him bundled up in a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, AND a down jacket. And mittens.

Maybe that's why he had this weird look on his face? Lol.

We're trying something new here in the Jeter household, in order to try and curb this attitude problem that Thad seems to have.

At 3 1/2 years old, his favorite words and phrases consist of things like, "NO!," or, "Shut your mouth!," or, "It's NOT FAIR!," or, "Don't talk to me!"

So yeah, it needs to stop. He doesn't seem to get the message when we say things like, "If you smart off one more time, you're going to bed early." In fact, I don't even think he cares if he goes to bed early because he has a bad ass bedroom with every toy a boy could ever dream of (including a basketball hoop and a tent). 

So the new plan is a behavior chart. He gets three strikes during the day - at the third strike, he gets a skull and crossbones sticker for the day. If he doesn't get three strikes, he gets a monster truck sticker for the day. Seven monster trucks later, he can go to Chuck E. Cheese.

So far, so good. But we'll see how long it lasts.

I swear, this child has more willfulness, stubbornness, and heard-headedness than Tom and I combined.


There's something about Sunday that I absolutely love. It's like no matter what is going on in my life - whether I'm single or married, a mother or not, working or studying - the day is always reserved for the same feelings of relaxation, and the same desire to spend it with the people that I love.

Today was just that - a perfect Sunday.

It started off with my wonderful husband allowing me to sleep in (have I mentioned before how wonderful he is????), while he hung out with Thad. When I came downstairs, I watched the two of them play some idiotic game of basketball that required one person to lay directly under the hoop and consistently take a ball to the face, each time the other scored. All 3 of us were laughing so hard.

Then I got to cuddle in bed with Thad during nap time (because yes, after sleeping in, I still needed a nap...it's the meds. Don't judge.).

After that, the 3 of us headed out to Java Gym so Thad could run around, I could study, and Tom could be bored out of his mind. 

Then dinner, topped off with Thad going to bed a little earlier than usual.

Now, I'm sitting here trying to collect a bunch of photos to send to my sister-in-law so that she and my niece can make a photo book of the family for Tom's mom. In having done so, I have come across so many wonderful pictures that I forgot even existed.

This photo was taken during our trip to Europe during the Christmas of 2006. I think I was pretending that I wasn't working at some below-minimum-wage small town newspaper at the time, and that I was instead some rich bazillionaire who was about to partake in a little bit o' shopping.

Me and Thad, when he was only about a month old, on the drive from New York to Michigan. See the lovely trach necklace I'm sporting? Almost as cool as his sunglasses, right!? Lol.

My favorite place to be in the summers - Lake Michigan. More specifically, Holland or Grand Haven. The water is absolutely perfect, and the weather is just what the doctor ordered after months and months of bitter cold and wind and snow and ice and bitter cold and wind and snow and ice.

To date, this is one of my favorite photos of Tom and me. It was taken at the little pub below our hotel in Amsterdam. I'd like to take this moment to note that the two of us engaged in a lot of drinking that trip and - unbeknownst to me - I was pregnant at the time. So if Thad ever seems a little "off" to you, I take full responsibility. Ha. 

The night we got engaged. That was a fun night. We did what every girl dreams of doing on the night she gets engaged - hung out with good friends at a bar, then headed to Canada to play some pool at the local strip clubs. We are a class act, ladies and gentlemen. ;)

The day we got married. I love this picture - look at how youthful we are. Then we had a child...and now we both have large circles under our eyes and our hair is turning gray. Lol. 

I truly love this man. Can you tell?

When I took this picture, I knew in a second that Thad would grow up to be just like Tom...here they were, both watching the news while Tom sipped his morning coffee. Thad was a whopping 4 days old in this photo. And look at how orange he is from his jaundice! He's like my little oompa loompa. 

Two of the most important guys in my life. They were made for each other. And, they were made for me. 

I love my little family so much. 

So, so much.


Be still.

My heart.


Remember how I talked about how excited I was for some upcoming photo shoots?

Um, today was Round 1.

Are you in love with this little girl as much as I am?

Because for reals, I might have to steal her in the middle of the night. Seriously. I know where she lives.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

About a year ago, I was perusing one of the online forums that I belong to full of other photographers, and I noticed a woman who mentioned being a member of an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Curious as to what this was, I googled it.

The first thing I saw was the organization's mission statement:

To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy.

This entire concept struck a chord inside of me, although to this day, I really am not sure why. Having been blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy in September of 2007, I could in no way relate to the loss or suffering that these families were experiencing. What I could do, however, was give myself to this organization with the hope of being able to help at least one of these families in this grieving process.
So I applied, and 6 weeks later I was accepted.

Being a member of this organization is in no way glamorous. When people ask me about it, they walk away from the conversation, I am convinced, thinking that I am some crazy, morbid person. I mean, I willingly dedicate myself to different times each month in which I use my camera to photograph children who have passed away?

To which my response is, "Absolutely." Because if people like myself, and those who volunteer as well, weren't around for this, how else would these families be able to capture beautiful memories of their darling children?

The joy of being a parent is extraordinary - even if that joy is fleeting. Don't these parents deserve the same chance to look upon that joy and remember it for what it is - and what it was - through moments captured on film?

I believe that they do, which is why I whole-heartedly believe in this organization.

If you are a photographer in the Grand Rapids, MI, area, I encourage you to attend our informational meeting on April 18. If only to listen to some testimonials and think about the potential - that's all I ask.

If you are a photographer in another area of the country, I encourage you to contact the organization through their Web site, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep,  to see if they have meetings in your area or if there is even a chapter of photographers established where you are. So many parents miss out on this gift because there simply aren't any photographers in the area who have given themselves to this cause.

If you have any questions regarding the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep foundation, or the meeting in the Grand Rapids area in April, please feel free to contact me at catherinejeter@mac.com.

There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

P.S. - If you are interested in viewing a slide show by local NILMDTS photographer, Lisa Ruff, click here.

Photo shoots, photo shoots, photo shoots and...finals.

I don't think you quite understand what it's like to discover your passion (unless, of course, you've already discovered your passion then you're thinking, "uh, yeah, actually...I do know what it's like.").

But for those of you who don't - I have to tell you, it's the most glorious thing, and yet the worst thing in the world, all at the same time.

Discovering photography was of course, the best thing I could have done for myself.

However, the sleepless nights thinking about upcoming shoots and ideas? Yeah, that part sucks.

I have 6 shoots in the next week-and-a-half, and I literally spend every night falling asleep late, and waking up early because I have one million thoughts and exciting ideas running through my mind.

I've even begun to keep a log of all these random thoughts, so that I remember to try them out.

Some of the things I'm looking forward to trying?

Pink and yellow petti skirts with matching parasols.

My new seamless backdrop (sea green/sky blue color) with clouds in the upper corner, and a little girl in a yellow skirt in the bottom right.

A newborn with angel wings.

A newborn on a vintage scale.

A lace romper on a 2-year-old girl with pearls.

A princess-themed shoot for a Mother's Day gift.

A newborn with teddy bears.

Railroad tracks and three sweet kiddos.

And oh so many more.

I'm also getting more and more thrilled about my two upcoming boudoir sessions. For reals, people - they're going to rock.

I can't even handle the excitement.

Hopefully, amidst all the chaos, I'll be able to stomach a test or two...or three.

I hate law school.

March 17.

What a night.

On this St. Patrick's Day evening, on this last day of my project 365, I met with a family in the neonatal until at the Children's Hospital. This family had a precious little baby, three months old, who could not eat or breathe on her own. The decision was made to pull her from her life support this Saturday...but, before they did so, they wanted photos taken of her, with her...for them.

I can't even imagine the heartache that comes with this situation. As the day draws closer and closer, I can imagine that you begin to suffocate under the weight of that moment when the machines are turned off and you lose your child. I can tell you that I spent only 2 hours with this family, and I am heartbroken.

I squeezed this little baby's toes. And I told her that it was lovely to have been able to meet her. And, as I walked to the car, knowing that I will return after all the machines have been turned off this weekend for more photos, I cried.

I sobbed, actually.

And then I went to our babysitter's house, walked in the door, and gave Thad the biggest hug and kiss I could muster.

Life is so incredibly fragile. And pregnancy alone is such a miracle - it's amazing when you think about all of the children who are born each and every day without any problems. I am so thankful to God that after Thad was born, we were able to take him home.

And love him. And enjoy him. And learn from him. And allow him to enjoy the sunshine.


I am so, so thankful.

Other circumstances.

In an email exchange to a friend of mine the other day, I made a statement that kind of came out of nowhere, but it really hit me hard. I wanted to share it on my blahg because, from what I can tell, it relates to almost all of you who read it (that I know of...I know there are some of you out there reading this who would totally shock me if you actually admitted to reading my blahg!). 

Anyways, I was talking about friendship and what is required of each of us at those moments when someone we know or love hits a rough patch. I think that sometimes it's important to be selfless in a friendship, and at other times it's important to be selfish. I am selfless with certain people in my life right now - acting as a sounding board, helping them through specific situations, expecting nothing in return because I know they are incapable of giving it right now.

However, with others, I have also been selfish. There are certain times in our lives when we just can't give any more to others what we are required to give to ourselves. And that has been very true for me since December of 2008. Since that time of my diagnosis, I have been bitchier than usual. I have been forgetful. I have been a total space cadet. My medications make me feel like the only thing I can do each and every day is sleep. I've lost my will to socialize on a regular basis - I'm much more comfortable at home, in sweats, lying on the couch with Tom. That's just how it goes.

But it won't always be this way. My medications (God willing) will come to a halt in December of this year, and the "old Katie" will return. My mind will return to me. 

At the end of the day, not only will I have had all the energy in the world to keep up with Thad, but I will have some left over for Tom and my friends. My "personal problems" meter will scale back dramatically, and I'll be able to be a better friend to those I seem to have neglected over the past couple of years.

I am thankful to those of you who have stuck around. You've cut me some slack, and allowed me to be more ditzy, more bitchy, more tired, and more lazy than normal. You've never allowed me to take advantage of you, and when I came close to walking that line, you've given me a swift kick in the ass.

These past two years battling this disease has taught me so, so much about friendship. And those of you who are still around, I am greatful for. I am so blessed to call each of you "friends" and I thank each of you for the support you have provided to me and my family in my time of need.

The impact you have had on my heart is not even capable of being expressed in words. Just know that it is there.

My cup overfloweth.


I'm not even kidding when I say that I have been walking this Earth for the past 4 days in a Tylenol-induced cloud. I have felt miserable since Friday evening, and even my appointment at the doctor's office left me feeling defeated (something about "we can't prescribe medicine to you because it won't help because you're already on 14 bazillion meds and we will take your $35 co-pay now k thanks"). 

But finally, today...a small glimmer of hope. And light.

And yes, I still feel like shit. It has nothing to do with me feeling better physically.

But emotionally? I'm stoked.

Pioneer Woman - the woman I dream of one day being (minus the farming, and the cooking, and home decorating) - has picked one of my photos for her recent photography assignment, Beauty.

I knew instantly what photo I wanted to submit...there wasn't a doubt in my mind. In fact, I even uploaded it twice so that I could submit it twice. It just means that much to me.

I took this photo of my Aunt Tracey while in California last year during this time. She was in the throws of chemotherapy and, obviously, had lost her hair. I wanted her to feel beautiful, though, and embrace her new look. When I told her I wanted to take her picture, she scoffed. 

Like, "Uh...why?"

But, I convinced her to bare all. Literally.

She has a towel on (that you can't see), but you can barely see the scar of her masectomy under the scarf at the bottom of the photo. She felt ridiculous taking this photo, I am sure of it. And she probably thought I was crazy.

But, I edited it. And I printed it. And I love it.

And I think secretly, she does too.

But being selected for Pioneer Woman doesn't excite me because my work is being recognized, it excites me because now hundreds and thousands of people can see her for how beautiful she is as well.

This photo of her is a statement of courage. And hope - like the word inscribed on her necklace.

I am happy to say that my aunt's hair is now growing back, and she is cancer-free.

Does it get any better than that?

So much to catch up on.

It's only been 4 days since I last updated my blog, but I feel like so much has happened since then.

1. Swim classes are not going well. Thaddeus hates it. On Tuesday, he screamed and cried the entire time, "I WANT MY MOMMY!" and refused to let go of the wall. Lol. It is all stemming from him having fallen into the pool last week, and he can't seem to get over it. Tom and I keep trying to tell him that he's perfectly safe in the pool with Miss Gale, but he's not quite getting it.

2. On Thursday, Thad was all pumped to not cry in the pool. Tom and I had made lavish promises of trips to Target and new cars if he could "be brave." Uh...no such luck. He was great...until he had to actually get in the pool. Then, yes...it was another 35 minutes of screaming and crying. Poor guy!

We are going to stick with it, though. The last thing I want Thad to think is that he can cry to get out of a commitment. We finish what we start around here, and even if I have to watch him scream and cry for the next 7 weeks, then so be it.

(I do still feel hella bad for him, though!)

3. Yesterday started off much like any other. However, by 5pm, it was pretty clear that I was coming down with something. By 6pm, I was asleep, and I was not up again until this morning. Even then, I slept pretty much the entire day, got up to nibble on some rice, and am now headed back to bed. My ears hurt. My throat hurts. I am so, so achy.

If it isn't gone by Monday, I'm headed into the doctor's office.

I absolutely hate being sick.

4. I had to cancel a photo session today because of this cold/flu. FML. I hate canceling shoots!

5. I donated 4 gift certificates worth $200 to some local schools, and the auctions for both are going on tonight. Had I not been sick, I would have been in attendance, maybe bidding on other things! But I am excited to find out who wins my GCs, and when they are going to want to turn in their certificates for a free session. ::squeal::

6. My cousin, Jacob, has been in Japan for awhile now. He is actually supposed to head home soon, but his departure may be delayed because of everything going on there. I am so thankful that he is safe, but could use some prayers for his return back to the United States!

7. Thad loves t-ball.

The kid's got a great arm, and a helluva swing. 

We just need to work on paying attention more. ;)


So ask my husband, and he'll tell you that I've been holed up at my computer for about two weeks trying to get all of my marketing tools done for my business. I know that I've mentioned it before, but this was seriously a rigorous task. Lol.

It took a lot of time...a lot of effort...and a lot of money.

So...that being said, I'm broke. Anyone want to schedule a session!? ;)  Kidding.

Anyways, I sent this order off today, but I took some photos first so that I could share some of the stuff that I'm proud of. Since the majority of my clients order a CD of digital files to go with their order, I created a tri-fold CD case (yes, I created it...no help from a single soul on this planet), and sent off for customized CDs as well as customized business cards/wallets for them to hand out to friends and family.

I've been doing the customized business cards since day 1, but everything else is new.

I feel like my business is all grown up and stuff. ::sniff::

This is the inside of the tri-fold, obviously. To the left is the limited copyright release, to the right are the print permissions, and the inside flap is a thank-you letter.

Aaaand this is what it looks like when it's all closed up and ready to ship...

 The next task on my list?

Learn how to tie a prettier bow.

Mini Sessions

In case you don't follow my Facebook or business pages, I thought I'd post this here. Let me know if you're interested!

Getting excited.

I'm reaching that point of the term where I am ready for exams to be over so that I can (1) be done with exams, and (2) travel to all the various places I am set to travel to once exams are finally over.

I think the plan, as of now, is to head to Denver once my exams are over. I will spend a week there with Thad, then fly back to Grand Rapids in time to drive to Norfolk with Tom and Thad to visit Nana. From Norfolk, I will fly out to Dallas for boudoir (OMG, so excited!!), and then after Dallas, of course, school starts right back up again.

I mapped out the classes I am going to have to take this next quarter in order to graduate by December. Holy shiz, the line-up is looking rough. Estate planning? Securities Regulations? Taxation for Business Entities?

I can guarantee much more bitching to come on this blahg about those classes. And, I'm pretty sure I can kiss my summer goodbye. Lol.

Oh well, though. It will alllllllll be worth it when I am finally done with my last final exam. I haven't quite decided what celebratory activities I am going to engage in when that day finally comes, but I can only imagine that it will involve a lot - and I do mean a lot - of alcoholic beverages, good friends, and maybe even a foreign country. Or Alaska.

Or Hawaii.

Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Also, for those who haven't heard - I saw my doctor in Cleveland on Wednesday, and we have officially begun the process of tapering me off of my chemo meds. SUCH a relief!! I will be done with these God-forsaken pills by the end of this year, if all goes well.

Oh! And I almost forgot!

Isn't my kid cute? Hehe.

This was taken shortly before a run to Target where he proceeded to con me into buying him a toy car, and then flipped his shit when I wouldn't let him have it before we paid for it. 

Yep. We were those parents with the screaming, flailing kid in Target. The ones I once scoffed at oh-so-long-ago.

He's lucky he's cute and so easy to forgive. ;)

Like a fish.

So Thad had his first swim lesson the other day. He was so, so excited. 

When the lesson first began, there were four kids. The other three were like crazy monster children. They didn't listen. They didn't behave. I was so amazed at how well Thaddeus was doing. He was basically an angel.

About 10 minutes into the lesson, the other kids were trying to clamor out of the pool. When they succeeded (despite the instructor yelling at them to get back in, lol), Thad thought he'd do the same. 

So he got out.

But then he fell in.

Ever watched your child fall into a swimming pool? I am pretty sure my heart felt the temperature of the water as it jumped out of my chest, and went from the bleachers to the pool.

Thankfully, of course, the instructor was right there and she pulled him right up. He was out almost as fast as he was in. But it still scared the shit out of me him.

He cried for awhile. He wanted mommy. 

He couldn't find the courage to put himself all the way back into the water because he was so frightened. I felt so bad for him. All I wanted to do was scoop him up and take him home.

But of course, that wouldn't have been the right thing to do.

So, I let him work it out for himself.

And, after the instructor took him around to float through the pool...

...he warmed up again and was able to get back into it.

He kicked.

And blew bubbles.

And "scooped ice cream" with his arms.

Apparently today, he even asked Tom if he could go back.

I'm so relieved. I was terrified that this little mishap was going to ruin him of the pool forever.

Thank God he's like his dad - a total fish.


We are at the halfway point before the Monkey turns four years old.


I don't know if I'm crying because it means that the terrible twos and threes are potentially over, or I am crying because he's growing up so fast.

Either way, I'm crying.

But, ahem, look at how HANDSOME he is.


Your eyeballs hurt. Admit it.

Today we ran around town, completing at least 452 bazillion errands. As a thank you for being so incredibly well-behaved, and a way to reward him for eating everything on his plate at lunch (we were at a new place, and he had never tried any of the food before...trust me, I had quite the task on my hands), I let him pick something out at Target.

He never fails to amaze me. Just when I thought he was going to go straight for the monster truck, complete with mud on the tires, he chose this:

My dad, ever the Transformer junkie, would be proud.

P.S. - Get excited. Thad starts T-Ball AND swimming lessons this week. Lots and lots of pictures to come!