Category Archives: Family

Budget Committee Meeting

One of the first lessons in the Financial Peace University focuses on the family budget committee meeting. (Dave has tips for singles on this too!) Basically, we should spend some time each week as a family discussing the budget. It can be 15 minutes or an hour, however you long you need to feel comfortable with everything. “When you agree on your value system, you will reach a unity in your marriage that you can experience no other way.” So, we meet at 8:00 p.m. on Sundays for the Bynum Budget Commitee Meeting. 🙂

Sounds right up our alley, huh? WRONG. It’s been tough. We did really well the first week because it was new and we had a ton to discuss. Then, we had a new month coming up and had to prepare the monthly budget for that. Then, I think we traveled or something and it kinda dropped off. But, all in all, we are meeting weekly for at least 15 minutes at some point. It’s been hard but totally worth it.

Dave begins this lesson identifying the different types in the relationship when dealing with finances: the free spirit and the nerd. You may can guess who is who. And yes, sometimes we’re both, but we’ve noticed that if in a situation Tim is the free spirit, then I can be the nerd. We balance each other. I am definitely the free spirit when it comes to the budget committee meeting, however. I cannot sit still. I make inappropriate jokes and I like to budget half to clothing to and entertainment. I’m not trying to be difficult I just can’t sit and talk about our money for that long. But really, after the first excruciating meeting, it got a lot better.

One thing that Ramsey points out is that money is the reason for around 90% of divorces that happen within the first 7 years of marriage. That’s insane! Really…it made me look at my husband and think “I will not let money do that to us.” And while that’s nice and sweet, and I know Tim feels the same way, the honest way to look at is, if you don’t BOTH take the time and care to be responsible for your money, then, those fights are easy to get in to. And that’s exactly how we’ve been about money. Identifying that, yes, I am the free spirit and Tim is the nerd made it easier to do the budget committee meeting the second time. He lets me be goofy and I let him do all the fancy calculations but I am totally present in the conversation.

It’s not magic, we don’t always click when it comes to money, but I feel that we have a way to honestly discuss things and come to an answer we both agree on. Being the free spirit, I didn’t know where every dollar went or even when our auto-draft bills happened. No clue. I just knew Tim would take care of that and I didn’t need to worry about it. Tim had to change and realize that I need to know these things and I needed to change and actually want to know these things. Once we sat down and filled out the forms and saw where every dollar went every single month, I felt so much better about our finances. I think Tim did too, because now that I get it, we can actually work together. How many marriages would be better if the husband and wife actually understood that they’re on the same side?

So, the only way you will learn to agree is by actually discussing the issues. Identify who is the free spirit and who is the nerd and find the good in both. Make time, even just a little, to do decision-making together and you’ll notice a difference, I promise!

“Tell me, and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand.” (Native American Saying)

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An awful hole

“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

I grabbed that from Pioneer Woman’s entertainment blog this week. It’s from It’s A Wonderful Life when Clarence is explaining things to George Bailey. It’s never been one of my favorite movies, like it seems to be for every other person in the world, but it’s almost exactly what I told Tim just two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago we lost my Papaw. We had just had the funeral and then attended the church’s Thanksgiving meal the next night. On the way home I could not stop the tears (which wasn’t unusual per the previous days’ events). I told Tim that it hurts so much that he’s gone because he was so present in our lives. It’s like there’s a big hole everywhere now. Just the week before that when I was dreaming of getting to eat the usual Thanksgiving goodies a whole week early (I love the church’s annual meal!) I could imagine every single detail of what the event would look like. I would have told you exactly where the food table and dessert tables would be set up. I could tell you exactly who would be working in the kitchen. I could describe the kids running up and down the hall. And I would have seen Papaw and Meme and the rest of my family waiting for the meal to start. But we went and I walked in…and he wasn’t there. And it was weird.

The church’s meal was wonderful. Lot’s of great people and we had a wonderful time with family in town. Our actual Thanksgiving Day meal was also perfect and we loved having more family around. But, I just expect him to be sitting in his chair when I walk in my grandparent’s house. I expect to get a funny phone call every-now-and-then from my husband telling me Papaw came by the gin because he had nothing else to do and he had everybody laughing the whole time. I expect to hear him say “Merry Christmas” on Thanksgiving Day or our birthdays and “Happy New Year” on Christmas Day. (He always did that, no idea why, but it was so funny.) I expect to sit at the dinner table and hear “MemeTreesyMaryLyndsyLacyceCHRISTY!” because he always went through all the other girls name’s before getting to the right one.

And, I’m not writing this for some pity because I’m just so sad. I just really miss him. It doesn’t seem right, him not being here. I know we’ll find a new kind of right to keep going on, but, sometimes I just miss him so much it hurts. He wasn’t sick and bound to the house or his chair, unmoving and waiting for the day he could leave. He was present, smiling, laughing and made a difference in our lives. There’s not just an awful hole without him, there’s an awful hole everywhere I go. The house, the gin, the farms, the church. But, our hearts are full. Full of memories and funny Papaw phrases. Those make him last. Those make getting through this easier. Those make me laugh till I cry or cry till I laugh.

I won’t forget the morning Tim woke me up at 6 a.m. with the awful news. But that will fade over time. I won’t forget the funeral. It seriously was the best one I’ve been to, such a celebration! But, it’s the happy memories with him that will last the longest and stay the clearest in my mind. Uncle Clay told of the few times he ever saw his dad cry: the day his dad died, the day his brother died, the day his son died, the day his grandson, Herbert Benjamin, was born…sadness and happiness, but he left one out. He cried when he saw me in my wedding dress. I will never, ever forget that.

I read something today by Beth Moore: “Every time you stand at a casket and mourn the death of a friend or loved one, know in your heart that Christ hates death, too…” It was not part of the original plan but the plan is still that we’ll all be together. There is hope in the resurrection of Christ that we will rise and be saved from a second death. He now has a perfect body. I’m sure Papaw doesn’t look like the Papaw I knew and loved, but I’ll know him when I see him again.

My Summer Vacation

In honor of school starting (and since I didn’t blog practically all summer…oops) I decided to write my summer vacation essay.

Ahem…

This summer has flown by. And, I don’t mean flown by as in all the other blog posts I’ve started with that statement. I mean, I can still hear the whooshing sound in my ears. It was that fast. Here are some things I did NOT accomplish…

  • Clean up back yard, get ready to replant flower beds in fall
  • Repaint baseboards (they are disgusting)
  • Repaint master bath (also disgusting)
  • Fix bathroom caulking
  • Repaint master bedroom (noticing a pattern here)
  • Clean out massive shoe hoarding space
  • Print some photos and frame them (I did buy frames, they just still have the freaky stock photos in them – hi random people I don’t know!)

Amazingly enough, I’m not freaking out over this list that did not get checked off. We started this summer telling each other that we know it’ll go by fast and ginning season is quickly approaching, so we’d better enjoy it and work our tails off. Well, we did enjoy it but from a nice, relaxing space on the couch. I’m ok with that. It’s just been too darn hot to do much but we did have some trips and adventures.

In June, we traveled all over like ancient nomads to Abilene and Tyler, TX and then Norman and Yukon, OK. We were able to go to my cousin, Melissa’s wedding in Abilene. They were actually married last year before he was deployed in the army and so this was the family’s chance to be together and celebrate!

Melly and Me

Papaw and Tim

We got to hang with our awesome friends, Ryan, Traci, Addi and Kam in Tyler. We had a blast! Those girls keep me on my toes and it was so good to catch up with great friends.

Me and Traci

Dixon crew

Us and Ryan at Lake Palestine

We had a blast making pretzels, swimming, seeing Traci’s great place of work (Brown’s Landing) eating amazing food, seeing old friends, and staying up late laughing. Does my heart good.

Next, we headed to Norman to stay with my aunt and uncle and see their new house. It’s a little ways out of town so it’s got beautiful land and trees (not so used to those!). I love their new place and they seem super happy there. We ate a ton of homemade ice cream and got to see Leah’s apartment. Can’t believe both my little cousins are attending OU…so weird!

Casa de Pace

We made this big loop up to Oklahoma mostly to be there for our niece’s appointment to activate her cochlear implant. We had been praying hard for her since she had the surgery for the implant. We never doubted for a second that it would work, we just didn’t know how easy the transition would be. But, for all those concerned, she was a total champ! Her whole family got together to cheer her on. I think the audiologist said it was a record 22 (ish) people there for her. We completely filled up the little room, all waiting silently to see how she would react and trying to quietly wipe away tears. It was truly amazing to watch her sweet face light up when she knew she was hearing something new and exciting. Not to mention when she heard her mommy and daddy’s voices!

She knows how to find the cameras

Her lunch break

Team Tessa

Pretty girl - back at home

Sheesh, that was just ONE trip! In July we went to Ruidoso, NM, because Tim had a conference there. It was just a few nights but it rained while we were there and it was peaceful and relaxing. We ate our favorite pizza from Cafe Rio and shopped too much. We stayed at a lodge that had a golf course and a 3 mile walking trail around it. I went for a walk the last morning we were there and it was awesome! I love being in the mountains.

We also got to see our friends, Brent & Tamara become parents to sweet Sawyer and were his first babysitters (score!). It’s been fun hanging out with them and getting to know Sawyer. And, we are the new directors for a newly married couples class at our church, Victory Life. We have a great teacher and have made a lot of good friends already through this. We’re so excited to be leading this group through a unique stage in life. We feel like the old married couple of the group – 4 years is way beyond most of the others! We are still learning a lot ourselves and we pray daily to be able to be real with these other couples. The study we’re doing now is called “Staying In Love” by Andy Stanley. I highly recommend everyone look into this course. (Plus, it’s only 4 weeks long!)

And one more little thing – my hubby’s 30th birthday! I had been so excited to celebrate his birthday this year. 30 is a milestone for sure and I’m just so stinkin’ proud to be his wife. I decided a few months before that the thing he would love the most is to have his family around for it. So, I planned a little surprise party. His parents and two of his brother’s and their family were able to come and we had a great time! He didn’t suspect a thing!

Love this pic - Harley and Dad chatting before the party

Chocolate cake with chocolate covered strawberries - Tim's fave

(most of) the brothers

Tessa being the cute entertainment

Kids are happy now that they have cake!

That, in a nutshell, was the great Bynum summer of 2011. We loved every second. Now, I’m ready for -40 degree weather and hats and scarves and boots….

May Birthdays

We had Lyndsy and my mom’s birthday celebrations a few weekends ago. Lyndsy turned 16 on May 31 and my mom turned…um, had her anniversary of her 40th on May 26! They celebrate together lots of years and this sweet 16 was extra special. Lyndsy had 3 other aunts, her other grandmother and another cousin in attendance for the milestone. We had a blast hanging out with these ladies and would love to do it all over again.

I remember pretty much everything from the 24 hour period of when Lyndsy was born. I wasn’t at the hospital, they were scheduled to be there around 5 am, I think. My great-grandmother (Mamaw) passed away the very night before so we were scheduled to keep Ben, the big brother, and try to get him back to sleep when his parents went off to Lubbock. I had just finished 5th grade and really wanted to help but went back to sleep pretty quick. We were all sad about Mamaw passing away but so happy to meet Lyndsy, too! I will never forget seeing her for the first time and thinking “She looks just like Mamaw! WEIRD!” 🙂 She had the same little smile, to me. I think it was later in the summer when my grandparent’s had a garage sale and it was super hot outside. I got to sit inside rocking the new little Lyndsy to sleep. I totally loved it! Now…she’s 16 and driving this :

2011 Camaro

Yep, I feel old! And a little weepy…sheesh! I seriously can’t believe she’s 16. And, Ben is about to turn 18 and starting TTU in the fall. Stay little, Layce, please…

Birthday girls!

Too cute. During the Happy Birthday song, they kept pointing to each other during “Happy Birthday to YOU” Silliness, love it!

Surprise!

Sweet 16!

And, I have a great video of Lyndsy finding her big surprise, but can’t, for the life of me, get the video to upload right-side up…so, if you can help with that, I (and my grandmother!) would really appreciate it.

Graduation

My cousin, Ben, graduated from Levelland High School last night. We are so proud of him! He is an amazing saxophone player and has been accepted into the Texas Tech University School of Music. He’s really into jazz and we’re pretty sure he’ll be playing with Michael Buble one day! (Backstage access, please? SWEET!) ((Also, sorry for the fuzzy pics))

Ben and Uncle Clay

Ben & his parents

Grandparents

Congrats Graduate!

Ben has another grandmother, 3 aunts and another cousin visiting. We’re having so much fun with all the family. Tonight we are celebrating Lyndsy’s 16th and my mom’s birthday! More yummy food….which reminds me, I have to make a sopapilla cheesecake!

Congratulations Benjamin! Can’t wait to hear you rock it at TTU!

Reconnecting in Ruidoso

Last fall, our life group leaders, George & Cathy, told us that for several years now, they have taken at least one night, sometimes a weekend, and just get away from it all. They have two college-age children and so for a night or two every year, they would leave them with family/friends, step away from the cell phones and computers, dis the laundry and dishes for another day and focus on each other. Tim and I were really encouraged by this idea. The point is to remind each other “this is why I love you” and to asses the previous year and set goals for the coming year. Awesome!

So, we decided to take a weekend and get away to Ruidoso last month. I cannot describe how wonderful and uplifting this little retreat was. We know that this could be a relatively calm time in our lives, no kids, I work at home, etc…and we need to cherish it now so that we can still cherish is later. So, we headed to the White Mountain Cabins in the Upper Canyon of Ruidoso, NM. This cabin is just for couples, teeny, tiny and perfect! This was one of the nicest places we’ve ever stayed and it was basically just one room, no doors except for a tiny, ummm, water closet. HA! Look that one up!

We knew we had three nights and two full days and decided not to plan a dang thing. This would normally be excruciating for me, the planner extraordinaire, but something about the whole meaning of this trip and God’s peace just helped me relax and not care about plans for once. We spent  a lot of time eating good food (Log Cabin twice? Thank you very much!) and more time just talking, praying and enjoying each other. Talking might sound horrible to many guys out there, but really, speaking to your wife about what you think of your relationship and your future is sexy! Trust me…

We devoted time to our past, mistakes and even some shameful things that we knew we needed to confide in each other and to our Almighty God. I’ve had trouble in the past feeling “really” forgiven. Like, really really? It’s gone…really? But actually putting mistakes into words through a journal or through telling your spouse and then praying about it out loud is powerful! We were able to move past these things and focus on what’s next. Which, by the way, we kind of have no idea what’s next! But we talked about many possibilities with our church, our family and our jobs. We ended up making a goals list. Some of them are things we could change right now such as a dedicated time for quiet time with the Lord. Other things were things that we know we want to do but aren’t sure yet how to accomplish it. Such as, praying about where to serve in our church and finding that place as soon as possible.

Many of these goals were a starting point and really helped rev us up to do this year right. I’m so thankful for the man God has blessed me with. He knows exactly how and when to make me laugh, when to be serious for me and when to tell me to get over it and move on. 🙂 So, I want to encourage you! Take a night, even if you just go to a hotel in town, and put everything aside to focus totally on your sweetie. You’ll be absolutely amazed at what can happen. Maybe you need some quiet space to hash something important out. Maybe you just need to remember you not only love your spouse, but you actually like your spouse. Do this for each other. I hope God blesses you greatly for it.

Love this man!

San Antonio

We had the opportunity to go to San Antonio during Spring Break last month (umm, someone slow down time, please!). We had a blast! The weather was perfect, got to hang out with some family, made new friends, stayed at an amazing resort and ate awesome Mexican food! I’m bad at this posting thing, so I’ll tell this one through pictures as well…

Layce and Lyndsy in front of the resort

We stayed at the Westin La Cantera Resort on the North Side of San Antonio, just off of I-10. We were actually far away from everything San Antonio-feeling but it was set up high on a hill with lots of land surrounding it. Great views everywhere and a great little nature trail that we took one morning.

View of San Antonio from La Cantera

The Resort had several pools, sports areas and lots of kid’s activities. We were with my aunt, uncle and three cousins. So, good excuse to hang out and participate in kid’s stuff! 🙂 Ice cream before dinner and s’mores before bedtime? Yes, please!

They had an animal show one morning where we were able to pet a baby wallaby (try saying that without an Australian accent…go ahead…try), a sloth (!!) a blue-tongued skink and a tarantula (no thanks). It was crazy seeing all these animal up close. I stayed far away from the spider and if you pet the skink, you had to use hand sanitizer afterward…umm, there’s something wrong about that.

Baby Wallaby!
Blue Toungued Skink
Sloth (looks like a Wookie)

The Hotel is right by Fiesta Texas and they have Looney-Tunes characters join you for breakfast in the morning. It was really cute and they interacted with everyone (adults included, a bit awkward…but still funny!)

 

Bugs with Layce and Levi
Bugs and Ben!

We visited the Riverwalk and ate at Casa Rio.

 

Casa Rio and the river dyed green for St. Patty’s

Tim had never been to the Alamo so we visited there of course!

 

Tim at the Alamo

We also went to Fiesta Texas and window shopped at some crazy-expensive stores at the Shops at La Cantera. We finished the last night at Mi Tierra. Sort of a tourist trap, because it is near the river walk in an area called The Market. Surrounded by “trinket stores” and there is seriously probably 100’s of people at any given time. We got there at a good time so only had to wait an hour. I had chicken enchiladas with mole…oh. my. word. SO GOOD! I recommend eating here at least once, the decor alone is worth it. Plus they have a great bakery (panaderia) for some good dessert or breakfast the next morning.

 

Millions of pinata decorations!

We had a great time and can’t wait to go again!

A very merry Christmas

This year has been a little crazy with all the activity and changes. So, I think it was very fitting that we went to Ruidoso for Christmas. The little mountain town has been a part of my family’s life for a long time and it felt so nice to go there and relax over the holiday. We played a lot of games, ate a lot of food and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I’m so happy that my family gets to spend so much time together and as my Dad prayed over our Christmas dinner I know we were all truly thankful for the eternal life that was given to us as a precious gift through the baby Jesus thousands of years ago. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Snow on Christmas Eve

Rio Ruidoso

Us

Sierra Blanca

(Unfortunately I cannot take credit for the good pictures, that’d be my brother’s doing!)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! 2010 was great and 2011 will be even better!

Empty

We’ve been working on cleaning out my grandparent’s house lately. It’s been coming for a few years but the bulk has been done in just the past few months and weeks. I walked around the house today void of furniture and it felt…empty. Empty because even though the memories were made there, they are not held there. It’s something I’ve been trying to tell myself for a while but going there today with nothing really left inside helped me more than I thought it would. Last weekend it hit me and I cried for a very long time. Not sobbing really, just every time something came to mind, tears came too. So, I decided to write out a few memories (ok, maybe a lot) just to help me and maybe my family smile.

Things I remember most:

  • Doing puzzles on the floor or any flat surface we could find.
  • Learning to play Skip-Bo. Papaw let me win a lot.
  • Reading “Are You My Mother?” and “Little Black Sambo” and another book about a dog that befriends 3 little old ladies so they knock down their fences to have one big backyard for it.
  • When we were little the humongous living room floor would be so covered in paper from unwrapping presents you had to wade through it like a river.
  • Decorating the Christmas Tree and finding all the funny ornaments. Like the little red bird with the Santa hat and the panty-hose elf!
  • Playing White Gorilla. Although I still don’t know what the real rules are, it always resulted in the girls screaming and running around like crazy while Dad or Uncle Terry chased us.
  • Taking naps in the warm den…sooo cozy.
  • Papaw putting up the tree swing. So cool!
  • Running out to the barn one day and coming face-to-face with a snake. I couldn’t watch Papaw chop it’s head off, icked me out, but I wanted it dead!
  • Playing on the old run-down tractor.
  • The first dog I really remember having, Chip, got to live with Papaw and Nana for a while. Pretty sure Papaw only got him for us and Nana thought he was crazy. I’ll never forget picking him up from the family that had these Shelties. I was so excited.
  • Making ice cream with the hand-crank ice cream maker. The kids thought it sounded fun until our arms wanted to fall off.
  • Pineapple-banana ice cream!
  • All the Thanksgivings and Christmases we had there. So much food. So much fun!
  • Nana teaching me to bake.
  • Erin making the dressing for Thanksgiving the last few years. She’s the youngest in the family but she liked getting up early and helping.
  • Playing with Nana’s gloves, scarves and fantastic vintagey jewelry.
  • Projecting the slides on the living room wall. Ancient form of entertainment!
  • Going into the creepy cellar. *Shiver*
  • Papaw smelling like Chap-stick. The regular kind in the black tube. I can still smell it and think of him.
  • Seeing birds nests in the ring-o-tress in the front drive. Saw some really pretty blue eggs one time. I think it was a dove’s nest?
  • Wanting to drive the riding lawn mower to get the mail.
  • Papaw’s garden. Oh my, I’ve seen so many things grow in that garden. Pumpkins, squash, beans, peppers, potatoes, corn, tomatoes. (Sorry, but I still don’t like tomatoes! I just know what a good garden grown one looks like.)
  • Leah and Erin thought that Texas was literally just my grandparent’s house.  Cuties.

Many of these memories make me laugh. I could go on and on. There was just a special feeling when we were at Papaw and Nana’s house that can’t ever be replaced. But, ultimately, the house is just the place. It’s the people and memories we need.

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!

(I love love love that musical!)

I am just now catching up on the blog because we have been sick. It’s been pretty snotty around here…gross. But, got a z-pack and we’re doing much better!

A few weekends ago we went to the great neighboring state of Oklahoma to visit family. Two of Tim’s brothers live there and we were able to spend some time with their families. We had a blast!

We went to Waynoka and Alva on Friday to see Tommy, Lacy, Emmy, Libby and Harley. This was about a 6 hour drive, well worth it though! We drove into Waynoka for Harley’s football practice. Lacy, my sis-in-law, and I snuck (sneaked?) away to do a little shopping. Greatest little store ever! Frillz…you gotta go! We had super awesome pizza at Gambino’s that night. Oh and schnicker-doodles!

The next day we got to watch Harley’s flag football team go undefeated for the season! It was a blast!

Go #4!

 

Harley and Uncle Tim

That afternoon we drove to Yukon to see Darin, Whitney, Parker and Tessa. This was another couple of hours drive through some freaky back-woods Okie towns. But we made it just in time to keep Parker while mommy, daddy and Tessa went to a new small group. We had a lot of fun and Parker totally wore us out! 🙂 Tessa still had some ear problems going on, but we were able to see what a difference her hearing aids have made!

Darin and Tessa

We also got to see Tessa smile a lot. She is a pretty happy little girl and it was awesome to see her improvements. Right now they are working on things like intentional movements such as bringing her hands or feet to her mouth or reaching out for things. One night, Darin was reading a book to her that had animals with fuzzy fur on the pages. She reached her cute little hand out to pet the animals a few times. It was awesome!

Bynum Boys!

Cute babies

Tessa really loved her Uncle Tim. I think he reminds her of her Daddy. She would give him the sweetest smiles. And, big brother, Parker is so sweet and gentle with her. I know God planned this family to be exactly like it is and it’s a blessing to get to see them grow.

We had a great time with family and can’t wait to see them again! Now, I have to go see who wins Project Runway…oh, and this little game in the World Series…