30 December 2009

I need YOUR help!

I have 110 tickets to sale for the Vacation Package. I have 4 days to sell the tickets. Would you please consider buying a few so I don't have to return the money.

Details on the tickets can be found in this blog post: http://tam4buit.blogspot.com/2009/12/vacation.html

You can mail me a check or use paypal: buitenwerf1976@live.com

*** I do have the option of postponing the drawing until I sell the 600 tickets but I'd really rather prefer to be done with this fundraiser so I can focus on other things.

28 December 2009

He's learning

Scott is great at inviting our adult friends over. This time though, we invited them all on our own. Last night we enjoyed the company of our dear friends as we brought our families together to share in a meal and fellowship.

As they arrived, Ryan was still out on an emergency call (he brought a new calf into the world who arrived backwards and upside down... ouch!). Anyway, our friends stayed with our kids for a moment while I ran the neighbors home. While we were gone, our sweet little son was quite the host and offerred hot chocolate to S&M. When I got back to the house, I asked to get them something to drink and they informed me that my son was already following in our foot steps and had already asked them.

He's too cute.

Most of the time.

27 December 2009

Quick Thoughts

I so need to update my profile. That was more than 4 years ago. I've since chopped my hair, lost the baby weight, grown my hair out, gained back the weight, and am currently running around with short hair and only a bit of the extra pounds.

Christmas is gone. We know that because our wise little son is now counting the days until next Christmas as well as the days until summer. His "how many more days until..." question is getting on our nerves but I'm thankful that he's curious and wants to know. Christmas may have past but I'm still trying to reflect on the celebration that we fail to focus on at our house. How is it that we can have plans on focusing it more on the babe in the manger but still manage to spend too much on gifts and fill our time with overeating rather than worshipping a King? I'd hoped to make a birthday cake this year but that didn't happen. My kids can tell you that we celebrate Jesus' birthday but they're also loving the presents they received.

I also tried to make Ryan's gifts a little more focused on Christ. My good friend gave me the 3 gifts idea. This is basically the idea behind it:
1. Gold
· This is a practical gift given to Jesus it would have helped them to afford the journey God was about to send them on.
· To represent this gift you give a practical gift to help them on the journey of life that God has for them.
· This could include clothes, coats, shoes, boots, or even a shelf for their room, Something they have a use for.
· These gifts should not have a religious theme or you will blur the lines of the gifts.

For this gift, I gave Ryan a journal and have been praying that he will use it to draw closer to God in all areas of his life.

2. Myrrh
· This gift was a perfume to bring pleasure or joy into Jesus life.
· This is a fun gift to get so this gift you give is something fun they will enjoy.
· This could include a game, a basketball, a toy, just something to have fun with and play.
· These gifts should not have a religious theme or you will blur the lines of the gifts.

For this gift, I gave Ryan a starbucks gift card and a Snoopy comic book.

3. Frankincense.
· This was something they would have burned to give a pleasing aroma to God. The gift would have burned steady and strong.
· You choose a gift for your child that will help them to live a life pleasing to God, a life in which they will be steady and strong.
· This could include a story book, an activity book, a Bible, a Bible game, a movie about God, CD with age appropriate music for them, a picture for their bedroom wall. We have given T-shirts with Christian saying on them.

Focusing on the living a life pleasing to God, I gave Ryan some new workout clothes and gloves. He works out 3 days a week with another friend so I got him shorts, a shirt, pants and some weight lifting gloves. By the way, he looks really hot in his new pants!

The kids were of course spoiled with gifts from grandparents, parents and us. We loved watching them open their gifts. We also greatly enjoyed the company of our family - his on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas day. I of course especially enjoyed the 4 day weekend off from work!

22 December 2009

My Father in Law and Barbies have in common

This afternoon was a celebration of service and retirement for my boss and secretary in the office. We hosted an open house for them and with lots of visitors comes a packed house, warm temperatures and a lot of noise. When things began slowing down and I back at my desk to close the windows, I heard my phone beep. The voicemail would have to wait... I had a some things to clean up and having just looked at the clock, I had about 5 minutes left before I had to leave for guitar lessons. A quick conversation with the staff and they volunteered to take care of the clean up. I was free to go. Before logging out of my computer, I ran out to start my van and it wasn't in the parking lot. Though the day had been chaotic, I at least recalled dropping it off for an oil change.

commercial break: Kurt's Auto Body in Elkader is EXCELLENT. Does great work, has good people skills, is a wonderful all around business to work with. Back to my story...

Kurt, in perfect normal time was bringing my van back in 5 minutes. I had failed to tell him that I had to leave early for my guitar lesson. A few minutes behind schedule I was moving down the partially snow covered road and listening to my voicemail.

It was my father in law who'd called an hour before from T0ys*R*Us. He was shopping for his little granddaughter. They are giving Bethany a Barbie powerwheels jeep for Christmas (that I got during my first Black Friday shopping experience). While shopping at T*R*U, he saw some Barbies on sale and thought he should pick up a few for her to have while driving her new jeep. He wanted me to call back ASAP.

Yikes. Big dilemma here. We don't like Barbie nor do we plan on our daughter having them as toys. How will I address this with Mark? By now he's either bought them or he hasn't, right? I wondered if I should call Ryan and let him be the one to break the news to his dad. No, Ryan has had a crazy day and is probably still working cattle or euthanizing a cat. Do I allow the Barbie so long as my mother in law agrees to help me make non-slutty clothes for the doll? What kind of message will that send? It sucks to have to tell a grandpa that his gift is inappropriate for my little girl.

I decide to call Mark back. I talk to him for a short bit about it and he starts LAUGHING at me. He was totally just pulling my leg. He wasn't out shopping, he was out burning his trash. He didn't consider buying the dolls for Bethany at all, he was just being funny. This is typically my father in law - full of poop but I didn't expect it at all. I was in the middle of a chaotic afternoon and trying to get to guitar lessons and not real well focused I guess.

Real funny Mark! It was real funny and I love that Mark is funny like that. Usually though I can spot his BS from a mile away.

I told Ryan about it and he just grinned from ear to ear. Mark had let him in on the joke earlier. Real funny guys! Ryan though gave me the perfect way to get him back. He suggested that I call and inform Mark that we finally found out why I've not been feeling good. That I would be expecting another child. That would get him for sure. But I couldn't say it without laughing because I'm NOT pregnant. I tried to talk Ryan into making the phone call but he didn't.

Several hours later, I'm still laughing about how my blood pressure went up and I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to reply to Mark before I actually called him back!

Best Husband Ever

Last night after the kids were put to bed, Ryan grabbed the pile of unwrapped gifts and carried them to our room.  While I sat and practiced my guitar (my fingers are sore this morning), Ryan wrapped all the gifts.  He's studly like that!
Today as his day is expected to be wild already and it's only 9am - working 170 head of cattle, two DA (displaced abomasum) surgeries, a couple of small animals - I'm hoping that he knows that I'm so thankful for all his hard work both at home and at work.

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20 December 2009

Christmas Letter Text

Buitenwerf Family

From the desk of Miss Bethany

I found the elf today. The elf hides around the house and watches us to see if we're naughty or nice. He reports back to Santa, even though Scott and I know that Santa isn't real. He was sitting on the bookshelf that Daddy made for mommy this year. Did you hear about the shelf that daddy made for mommy? It's in the room with the Christmas tree. We love seeing the lights on the Christmas tree and playing with the ornaments that decorate it. I love playing with toys - the aquadoodle, Scott's blocks, my Dora kitchen. I also love helping in the kitchen by mixing stuff while I sit on the counter. I even have my own scraper…

As you can see, Bethany is growing quickly and her mind is always on the go. She's thinking, and getting distracted non-stop…

Daddy, this is my letter, let me share this year, please. What was I saying? Something about the kitchen... my favorite thing is hot chocolate. It's tasty! I just have to have it right away in the morning. I can down a cup of hot chocolate almost instantly. Mommy and daddy keep saying that I'm addicted. Scott likes it too. Scott likes me more than hot chocolate. He loves to sleep with me at night and I don't wanna share a bed with him so now I just ask to sleep in my crib. I love my crib, my duckie blanket, and having my fan on. I love when daddy tells me stories. Mommy isn't a good story teller. My momma is great as long as she's not washing my hair.

What was that I heard… Veggie Tales… LarryBoy, there's no here quite like LarryBoy...

Like Ryan said, Bethany is easily distracted. And thank goodness; we want to share with you about our year.


Bethany is definitely her mother's daughter and talks and moves non-stop. I'll try to keep it brief here…

It's been a full year, one full of blessings, full of busy days, full of grace, full of failure and full of trying again. I continue to work full time while trying to make the best use of the rest of the time in the day God has given me. A couple of things I've done this year include starting the adoption process of an Ethiopian orphan, visiting with family and a few friends for a week in California where I got to celebrate the life of my late Uncle James and participate in the wedding of my cousin, Sarah. Shortly after that, I spent 10 days outside of Mexico City on a missions trip with 11 other amazing team members while Ryan kept the kiddos at home. I canned a bunch of tomatoes into salsa. I made use of my sewing machine by making some black baby dolls and a shoulder bag. I organized a few fundraisers and attended various training sessions for our adoption. I spoiled myself one weekend and attended my first ever blogger conference.

Throughout the year I've continued to lift weights. After getting hooked on the Biggest Loser, I am trying to focus more on my physical health recently by incorporating some time on the treadmill. Of course some days when I eat 10 snack size almond joys, I fail miserably but get back up and try again the next day. I also fail at respecting my husband and serving him but am thankful that he is forgiving and loves me regardless. I love him too and am so thankful for his continued devotion and leadership in our family.


Veggie Tales are over now and mom is off changing Bethany's diaper so I'm going to play computer. I can't play on PBSkids.org so I guess I tell you a few things. I finally started school this year - I go to preschool on Tuesday and Thursday. I love spelling and reading words, W-O-R-D-S, words.

Scott, this is my letter. Get away. Scott is my big brother. He watches out for others. He loves to feed the animals, take baths, play in the sandbox and draw. He still has problems pooping.

BETHANY, don't tell people that! Daddy's making supper, you should go help him… nevermind her. I love to tell jokes, tell stories and sing songs. Bethany and my favorite song is Good Morning Beautiful and we both love to sing it with Daddy. Lately I've been trying to remember phone numbers of people while I dial their number to call them. My favorite thing this year was going to the waterpark.

Okay Scott, that's enough, I want to write about Daddy.

Okay, I'll just go play in the snow without you, Bethany.


My Daddy is the coolest guy ever. I just adore him and love him. Daddy is the one who makes me hot chocolate every morning while he sings Good Morning Beautiful and lets me help in the kitchen. Okay, really I sit on the counter and talk to him, but he let's me think that I'm helping. When Mommy went to Mexico to tell people about Jesus, daddy took good care of Scott and me. He told me stories every night before bed.

Excuse me, Bethany, can I share a bit about Daddy too? For those of you who don't keep up with Ryan, he's quite the busy guy. Besides being one of the local veterinarians, Ryan also takes time to search out the details involved in a one-room school, writes an agricultural column for a local newspaper, installed an outdoor wood burner this year, and countless other things it takes to lead a family and maintain an acreage.

Okay mommy, my turn again. Did I tell you about when he took us to the water park? He let Mommy and Scott go on the big slides and he played with me in the shallow water. He's a good Daddy like that. He reads us stories, prays with us and makes us dinner. He even watches cartoons with us when Mommy isn't home.


As usual between my kids and my wife, I don't usually get a chance to say much. I'm okay with that for the most part. Something they didn't share much about is our adoption process through Ethiopia. It's been a process in paperwork for sure that we started this past summer. Most recently we were matched with a little boy from Ethiopia. He is 22 months old.

His name is Dirk. No Scott, his name is Judah. That's my girl, Bethany, you know mommy likes that name. All three of you are crazy. His name is _____ (which means "take the lead to expand") and I like the name Daniel. Names are important to us, but that's not the point of this.

Anyway, though we've been matched with this beautiful little boy, it will be approximately six months before we can go to Ethiopia to bring him home. While Scott and Bethany are looking forward to sharing their things and Bethany is even making excuses as to why she needs to take her shoes off and share them, we have a lot of paperwork to complete, money to save and praying to do. We would love to have you join us on this journey. You can follow along with updates on our adoption blog (www.journey4hope.blogspot.com) if you'd like to read about the specific things we're doing along this journey.

From our family to yours, we wish you a Christ-filled Christmas!

With love, Ryan, Tamara, Scott and Bethany

18 December 2009

another little give-away I'd like to win.

Because of my desire to quit daydreaming about being more involved with photography and graphic design and actually do it, I signed up for this contest at one of my favorite blog sites. The contes can be found here and here.

Wish me happy thoughts on winning.

Merry CHRISTmas!

I think you know me by now. If you don't, please leave a comment below so I can get to know you a bit.

With all that has been going on lately, I almost got my annual Christmas letter done. This year I was determined to get it in cards and in the mail. But life happens and Christmas letters get put on the back burner. The following is our Christmas letter. No fun editing, no great layout but none the less, it's us and that's what I wanted to share.

I made the letter into a pdf to email out (since we're a week from Christmas by now) but I didn't like it. It really jacked up the pictures. So here it is, our Christmas letter. Click on the image to enlarge and be able to read the actual words:

***edited to add: when I first checked it, it would let you click on the image to enlarge. Now it won't. Not sure why?!?!?!? Anyone that can fix that for me? I gotta get on the road but I can fix it once in DesMoines if you'll tell me how.

page 1

and page 2 (cause we're wordy like that)

17 December 2009

A day (or 8 hours) in the life of me...

In the past 8 hours, I have:
  • Gone on a trail ride in the snow. It really was work related. By the end of it, I was cold and feeling like I had rocks in my snowboots rather than toes. What a beautiful time. A good refreshment and reminder of the things I love about my job: being outdoors, working with people.
  • Finished up one of the home-made gifts that was driving me crazy.
  • Driven down the road in the vet truck while eating a piece of no longer frozen pizza, sharing with Bethany in the middle and cracking the window to get rid of Ryan's work smells. Hello, safe driver award goes to me please.
  • Watched Bethany rock out to the song Fanatic.
  • Bathed two energetic children and watched them have fun in a bathtub with about 1 inch of water while I prayed in frustration for the well to kick in and recharge the water tank two floor below.
  • Washed, folded and put away four loads of laundry (the reason our water is struggling).
  • Partly packed for another quick trip to the DesMoines area to pack G&G's things for their move to the retirement home. Thank you Lord that Grandpa is alive, even though he's having a rough time moving from the home he built and the community he's always lived in!
  • Missed bible study again. I don't like missing this but as you can see from above, I had lots going on.
  • Kept myself and hubby awake way too long since our morning will start at 510am!

home-made gift

Making a home-made gift right how.  I'm on try #3 and running out of time!  Grr.  I love home-made gifts but sometimes I despise the process!

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15 December 2009

Church Christmas Program

You might remember that last year Scott was quite entertaining and distracting during the children's Christmas program.  He was checking out the presents under the tree, digging through the blankets to see baby Jesus and even managed to pick his nose - all of this in front of a packed church.  Thankfully, this year the setting was different and my kids have each grown a little bit.  I was quite thankful for a quiet little boy who stood on stage when he needed to and he wasn't distracted by presents, babies or boogies! 
The kids are growing quickly of course.  This year they're grasping the idea of presents much more.  This also means that we have to make much more of an effort to help them understand that we celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a conquering King.  We've been reading through the nativity story, talking about Jesus' birth, etc.  But when it comes down to it in 10 days (Scott is counting down all by himself), it will be easy to be distracted with too much food and lots of presents.  How do we make sure we don't talk about the reason for the season all season long and then ignore it on Christmas day?  What do you incorporate into Christmas Day to help little ones focus on giving and celebrating Jesus' birthday?

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10 December 2009

I'm a little selfish

There's a contest out there for a new HP touchsmart computer. I really don't want you to go over there and sign up for the give-away. I'm a little selfish like that and I want the odds to stay lower so I have a better chance of winning. I just checked and there were over 3,000 comments.

Wowzers. 3,0000 comments? I don't think I've had that many blog readers since I started this thing.

The odds aren't great. But you know what has good odds? Our vacation raffle. Not even 600 tickets sold yet. I'm not so selfish with this one, feel free to buy lots of them and use them as stocking stuffers this year.

08 December 2009


I love a good tshirt. But I rarely spend money on one, unless its for the Iowa vs. ISU game. Anyway, I will buy tshirts with a purpose. I've been looking at some sites that have tshirt fundraisers. And to be honest, I just don't like what I see. But at www.mycrazyadoption.org, there are a few tshirts I really like. Go on over and check them out.

Who Knew

Who knew that shoveling snow could be fun?!?! This morning at the end of our work-out, we decided to shovel snow instead of working our abs. It was quite fun to shovel the walks for a few people.

I say this not to pat myself on the back. Rather, I hope it would encourage you to do something nice for your neighbor. If you live near where I live, shoveling snow is an easy option as we're about to get 6-12" of snow today before we get high winds.

Don't forget to buy your vacation tickets - a chance to enjoy better weather than we're about to endure. Click here for more info.

03 December 2009


As I look out my living room window, its snowing and cold. At this point, I can't help but think of a little vacation somewhere warm. I'd love to go somewhere warm. Personally, I'd love to fly South and do some mission work, hang out with families, children, people on the street. Maybe for you, that's not the ideal trip. Maybe you'd prefer to fly to a coastal resort town and sip drinks on the beach. Well guess what, I have the perfect contest for that.

At $5 per ticket, it's a pretty sweet deal. Not only do you get the chance of the vacation, you also get the chance to help us bring out little guy home.

This vacation package was given to us to be raffled off as a fundraiser for our adoption. If we don't sell enough tickets to cover the minimum amount requested, we will refund your money and return the vacation package to the anonymous donor. At $5 per ticket, we need to sell at least 600 tickets. Remember, each ticket sold, gets us five dollars closer to adopting from Ethiopia and gets you one step closer to an inexpensive vacation! Please consider buying 1, 2, or even 20 tickets. Leave a comment on this post or email me for the address to send ticket money to.

Vacation Package Guidelines
  • At least one of the travelers must be at least 18.
  • Destination may include anywhere in North America, Central America, or the Caribbean
    Airline service provided by Continental Airlines. Hotel stay provided by Marriott Hotels.
  • Dates of the trip to be chosen by the winner
  • Need to be pre-booked 8-10 months in advance of trip for best availability of hotel and flights
  • There is no guarantee of availability of date preference, however booking in advance will minimize black out dates
  • The trip arrangements will need to be scheduled prior to June 30, 2010
  • Drawing held after 600 tickets are sold or on January 3, 2010 - which ever comes last.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the raffle and return the money to the buyer. You will be notified if the raffle has been cancelled.
  • The winner will be given full information on arranging booking of tickets with donor.
  • In-land transportation, meals, hotel incidental expenses, and other travel expenses are not include.
  • No limit to the number of raffle tickets purchased by one individual
  • Prior to booking the trip, the winner may choose to transfer the trip to another person(s). Yes, you can win and give it away!
  • Once the trip has been booked, any cancellation or change of dates might be allowed at winner’s expense and is subject to availability.

02 December 2009

Working on Overload

It's been a wild few weeks.  Craziness at work, holiday planning at home, kids getting to big to leave presents out in plain view, adding running on the treadmill on the days I don't lift weights, more craziness at work, adoption stuff, etc.
I've really been wanting to post about how my perception of being in the world and not of the world is changing.  It's a difficult thing for me always but something that has been increasingly on my heart and mind.  That will have to wait for another day because there are two big things going on right now.
One is Ryan's grandpa.  He was a rockstar in surgery and I just talked to him very briefly just minutes after they pulled the tube out of his throat.  What joy to hear his voice.  He is just learning that he's been in the hospital the last 9 days with a broken neck and yesterday had surgery to fuse the vertebrae together.  We're so glad he's here.
The second is life on the adoption front.  We finished our homestudy and  yesterday got a call from Holt.  It wasn't about the homestudy.  Rather it was to ask us if we were ready to get a referral.  And by ready they mean financially (see the post from yesterday at our adoption blog).  I let Holt know this morning that we are ready and this afternoon we got a referral from them.  We still have to take the information to our doctor before we can accept a referral.
Obviously between these two things, I'm quite distracted and giddy!

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