At the Foot of the Cross

Today is a day of reflection at the foot of the cross. Today is a great day to read the gospel accounts of the crucifixion and to take some time to sit at His feet. Thank you for the cross Lord Jesus.
John 18:1-19:42



An Ode To Osa Bear

My beloved puppy Osa Girl passed away today so I though it appropriate to take some time to reflect on the great dog she was and some wonderful memories I had with her.

My freshmen year of college (August 2003) my roommates and I decided we wanted a dog to help protect us and the house. So my roommate Lisa and I went to the Humane Society to find one. We were not wanting a puppy because they were just too much work for a bunch of college girls. So we took a few older dogs out to play with. Osa turned out to be the only dog who wanted anything to do with us. She played with us and responded to us when we called her. Plus she was the only dog in the whole place that was potty trained. It was love at first sight. We were told she was a 5 year old Rottweiler Labrador Mix. Not sure if she had just turned five or had been five but I always used August as her birthday.

We brought her home and it did not take her long at all to settle in. She quickly clung to my side and could often be found at my feet or the foot of the shower when I was showering. She went everywhere with me. She loved going on walks and being hugged. In her youthful days she even enjoyed going on runs with me. She never was into fetch and kind of looked at you like you were crazy if you even tried to play fetch with her. She had a killer instinct when it came to cats and she killed at least 10 cats in our old neighborhood (sad I know, but there was a colony of stray cats so there were so many around us). She once jumped out of the car window because she saw a cat and had to chase after it. Another time a cat decided our backyard was a good place to have her litter of kittens, needless to say none of the kittens made it out of the yard. What can I say? I know it is sad but it really was part of her doggie instinct. She actually escaped many times from our backyard in our college house as she was chasing after cats. Good thing for tags. I had multiple random calls from neighbors saying, ‘I have your dog.’ Thankfully she made it back safely after all of those excursions.

At the pound they told us that the reason the owners gave her up was that she was an Alpha dog. I did not see this come into play until she started getting around other female dogs. She was not to be messed with around them. I had to break up a few fights. She rarely ever started them but always wanted to finish them. However, over time she mellowed out a lot and quite enjoyed being around other dogs and going to the dog park.

We often took her to the mountains with us and I never saw her more happy and spry than when she was running through the snow. Just this past New Year’s she even did this. It always seemed to make her forget she was getting old and instead feel like a spring chicken. Poor thing always paid for it the next few days but she didn’t seem to mind.

She had some quirky things about her. She was stubborn as all get up and would not listen if Austin asked her to do something, but would if I asked her to do something. She still had her dewclaws and they were long and would scratch you if you weren’t careful. She had halitosis since the day I got her. Her kisses were always sweet but always smelly. She had a ball. I know this sounds weird but it is true. It was a growth of some kind that got larger over time. It hung almost in the exact same spot as a male dog’s male parts hang. I had a doctor look at it once who said it was a growth that did not need to be removed, only if I wanted it to be removed for aesthetic reasons. Weird I know. Her tail was broken. It was like that since the day I got her. The last two inches of her tail had broken at some point in time before I got her and had healed at an almost 90 degree angle. She was full of character and quirks!

One of my favorite moments with Osa was the day we brought James home. There are so many dogs that react poorly or not at all to babies coming home. Charlie wanted nothing to do with James, but not Osa. She came right over and licked his face as if to say ‘hello Baby James, welcome, I love you already.’ She was very patient with James letting him play with her tags and pet her even if it wasn’t so gentle. In the past few months she didn’t have as much patience with him but James seemed to understand and left her be.

She was an old girl and I never expected her to live for so long. She seriously always looked as if she was smiling and was the most loyal dog I have ever known. She has been getting older and slower lately and I knew her time was coming soon. I prayed that I would not have to put her down, and that prayer was answered. She took a turn for the worse yesterday and passed away today naturally. Thankfully she did not suffer long at all.

I had 10 wonderful years with her and she was so good to me. Thank you Osi Bear for all the wonderful memories. I love you girl!

YL and leadership weekend 2006 074
YL and leadership weekend 2006 070



Are you someone who has the same password for everything? Or the same two passwords because once you forget a password you can’t use the same one twice? Or even worse you keep a sticky of your passwords under your keyboard or in a notebook? Than this site is for you!!!

Austin told me about it while we were living in Africa and I am not being facetious when I say it has CHANGED MY LIFE, at least in a technology sense. It is called Lastpass and it is simple. You think of one big mammajamma difficult to crack password. You use this as your main password. Anytime you log on to a site that you need a login and password for it will either remember the password you already use if you save it or it will generate a password that is super hard for you. (I honestly do not know most of the passwords I have for sites.) Then your download the plugin and app for Last pass in your browser and phone. Then anytime you log into a site you use it will automatically log you in as long as you are logged in to your lastpass account. You can also share a password (for example a utilities bill that you share with someone). You can change a password easily. You can write secure notes to keep helpful numbers or notes on hand such as family members social security numbers, password numbers, and check routing numbers. It is brilliant really! And it is all SUPER SECURE!

How many sites and passwords are you trying to keep remembering? Stop and take a few minutes to get yourself acquainted with Lastpass. I am sure if you do you will be happy you did!

Why am I plugging this? Ever since I started using it I tell so many people about it and I figured maybe someone else would like the hot tip.

Recent Happenings

I have had so many things in my brain I want to blog about lately but can’t get myself to sit down and write. For now here are a few snapshots of the beautiful life I am blessed with and the random moments in between.

I have never liked coffee before, actually I have downright hated it, but for some reason since having James I have been liking it. Pregnancy does weird things to you.

James got to hang out with his best friend Harrison last week. They are only five weeks apart. So fun!

I saw these at Bookmans which made me think two things. One, you can really buy just about anything in America! John Deere Dominoes?? Really? But at the same time the thought goes in my mind ‘those are awesome! I need them.’ And two Bookmans is Amazing and I should spend more time there.

We cheered on the Cats during the PAC 12 tournament with James’ new sweet shoes! Thanks Berans! And James got his first few real bruises and bumps. He is standing on his own but not super stable so he falls easily. Note the bruise on his left cheek. Poor guy

Project garden has commenced! Austin built me 4 large 4×4 raised beds and I brought my pots over from our old house. We filled them with soil and i planted the seeds this weekend. We will see how they grow!

Saw this as we were driving the other day. It’s not everyday you see a car with eyelashes! The owner was laughing at me as I took a picture.

James has been playing the drums lately. He loves it! Super cute.

We took James for his first spin in his new red wagon.
**i decided not to put the picture for the next one as I realize some people may be scarred by it.
We woke up to find a cat carcass on our lawn this weekend. Poor kitty. Seriously hoping it wasn’t one of our neighbors pets.

I just can’t get enough of this face! He is so fun and so stinking cute! Come and play with us anytime. We love having company!

Happy First Birthday Baby James!!

HOW CAN IT BE!!! It has been ONE WHOLE year since Baby James made his appearance!

Look at how little he was.

JamesBaum 2

Being weighed right after birth

JamesBaum 1

A few days old


Just after birth

Look how much he has grown and changed over the past year!

JamesBaum 6

48 hours



3 weeks

3 weeks


2 months


3 months


4 months


5 months


6 months


7 months


8 months


9 months


10 months


11 months

What a fun trip through memory lane with my sweet baby boy. He sure was chunky between 3 and 6 months!

And for what he is up to now… He has started doing SO many new things this past month. He is still as social, happy and loud as ever. He still smiles at almost everyone and feeds off of everyone’s energy. He does not want to sit still at all. Not in the grocery cart, not in the high chair, and not in the yard. In the car he loves to listen to music, espeically the Raffi Pandora station. He will start clapping an dancing as soon as he hears it. Pretty cute view from my rear view mirror. However, all this movement means we are doing the chasing. I am sure it will become even more exhausting once he is walking which is coming soon. He is standing on his own, and reaching from one object to another without realizing he is letting go. Although he had no teeth as of last month, he now has 4 teeth (2 on top 2 on bottom)coming through now which he is discovering how to use. He is talking more and more. He can say boof (dog), mama, dada, baba, mmmmm (more), ba (ball) and nana for no, while shaking his finger and head no at you. He babbles all day long. His sounds are starting to sound more like what you are are saying which is fun. He is LOUD and getting louder by the day. We were in Target the other day and he was screaming DADADA to all of Target. It was literally echoing off the walls. He loves to play outside getting messy in the dirt, playing in water and watching and playing with the dogs. He loves to eat bananas and beans all of the time but anything else is hit or miss. One day he’ll love it the next day he’ll dislike it. If he does not want something he lets you know. He is still as clingy as last month but I am embracing it. I love that he only wants me most of the time. I know it won’t last long. He loves to help unload the dishes and rearrange my Tupperware cabinet and pantry. He is almost completely binky free, which is bitter sweet for this mama as it really means that he is growing up.

We could not be more thankful that the Lord blessed us to be Jame’s parents! He is such a love and joy in our lives.

Lord, we pray for James on His first birthday. We pray that he would continue to grow healthy and strong. We pray that He would know you and your Love. We thank you for the gift of sweet baby James. We thank you for his energy and fun spirit. Bless him always! AMEN!

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby James!! We love you with all our hearts! #sorryimnotsorryforthepictureoverload


His new ‘happy’ face. What a goober!


Enjoying the outdoors


Happy poolside baby and daddy


Figuring out the game of croquet


Baby and Mommy










New Neighbors

I have fallen in love with our new neighbors. Well really we are the new neighbors, as they have lived in the neighborhood since 1955! They are the sweetest old couple ever. They are both in their mid to late nineties and just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Many people don’t even make it to 70 let alone being married for that long!

Austin and I went over to introduce ourselves around the holidays and they were so welcoming and sweet. The husband is in pretty good health but the wife has a lot of ailments. They have an in home nurse that looks out for them everyday and helps keep up with the wife’s ailments. They do not get out of the house much. However, there are some special occasions that bring them out, like planting a new flower bed and putting up the Christmas decorations.

James and I like to go over and say hello from time to time. James likes to play with their dog and I love to hear their stories. I recently asked them what they have been up to lately and they told me they have been reading Robinson Caruso. The wife was elated when she was telling me about it and how she had forgotten how much she loved the story. I came to find out that the wife’s vision is very poor and that she is no longer able to read on her own. However, her sweet husband of 70 years, reads to her each day. Does it get any sweeter than that? I saw him reading to her today in the front window as James and I walked by. I wonder what they are reading today. I am sure that the difficulties that have come with aging are challenging, but their 70 years of love is so much stronger than any of that. What a beautiful life! I pray that one day Austin and I can grow old together and be able to read to each other.