Thursday, July 21, 2011

Camping Highlights

(In no particular order.)

Ally officially learning how to ride her bike.
By the end of the trip she was able to start herself, pedal, and stop herself. Impressive!

Swimming in the wading pool.
The weather was so nice all weekend. We went almost every day.  

 Gracie did NOT like getting splashed. 

Granted, I was scared spitless. I think I was in the canoe for a total of 3 minutes. It was too wobbly and I was too afraid of dying. Good thing because two other people (who might be too embarrassed for me to mention their names) fell out of the canoe during their turn. After the canoeing fell through (literally ha) we spent the rest of the day playing in the sand.

Warren as Heavy Metal.
Every time we go to Kananaskis we love the interpretive shows. Our family members have been chosen every year we’ve gone. Warren must have that face, because he was lucky enough to be chosen… again. This year’s show was about the water cycle, so Warren got to be one of Professor Pollution’s evil pollutants. Ally and Grace got a real kick out of it.  

And yes, that really is "Sponge Bog Green Plants".

The scenery.
It really is beautiful up there. One day I went on a little walk with Ally and she kept pointing out all the beautiful views. I think I deleted about 291 pictures of beautiful views… Don’t tell her.

I love that we can go camping, and still enjoy playing on iPads (and my little iPad, as Gracie called it) and watch movies. That’s why I love it so much…

No explanation needed. She’s too cute!

 Of course her favorite aunt bought her this cute shirt. 

The food and campfires.
No pictures, but you can visualize.

After a few days of recovering, I am now off to begin my brother’s world tour tomorrow. First stop Olds, then Toronto, and lastly Calgary. I’m excited!

Pictures taken by me, Ryan, and my dad.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


How I felt about camping at different times in my life

Age 9: Oh fun! Come on over friends and we’ll sleep in our tents in the backyard!

Age 13: I’d love to go camping with you and your family! I just love sleeping in sleeping bags on hard rocky ground in a tent! Wahoo!

Age 20: Hate everything about it. Never going. Nothing in the world is worth spending a weekend without electricity, showers, or home cooked meals. Count me out.

Age 22: Well I guess if my family is going I’ll go to spend time with them. But only if it is in a nice, cozy trailer… with showers.

Age 26: When do we get to go camping? I’m so excited!

We get to go camping tomorrow!
We are heading up to the Kananaskis for a family camping trip (minus one brother). Thanks to having my summer off, I’ve been lucky enough to get some things ready during the day while my parents work.

My favorite task:

Doesn’t that look delicious?!
You should try it.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded, peeled zucchini
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Stir in zucchini. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.


Monday, July 11, 2011


Today my mom and I were crafty!  We made some chair pockets for my classroom.  It was long, and we still have to finish some tomorrow, but it was a great time!  Check it out:

Sunday, July 10, 2011


So today my parents and I went up to Barnwell, Alberta for my aunt and uncle's mission farewell. At the end of sacrament meeting a woman comes up to my parents and asks if they remember her. They didn't. She then introduced herself as my biological grandmother. I was so shocked. I really didn't know what to say. I think I just sat there, smiling and speechless. Thankfully, my parents were there to make small talk until she had to leave to teach primary. She made a lot of positive comments and reiterated how glad she was that I was raised in the Van Orman family. She told me a little bit about my biological mother and suggested I look her up on facebook. (I really do not think facebook is the way to go on this one...)

I have never had negative feelings toward anyone. I was never angry at my biological mother for giving me away and I am definitely not angry with my parents. They have always told me I was adopted. I used to love having my dad retell me the story. I am extremely grateful to have been given to the family I have now. I know that we were meant to be together. We all just seem to fit. In fact, when I tell people I am adopted, they usually find it hard to believe.  I am kind of indifferent about meeting my biological mother.  It would be nice to see what she looked like and learn what traits we have in common, but I also don't feel like I need to meet her to fill any void in my life, or anything.  So for now, I may just incubate for a while.  I don't know what I want to do.  I know I don't want to be the cause for bringing up negative feelings in my biological mother's life.  The door does go both ways, right? 

This is a short essay I had to write for a college class.  I can't remember why, but I'm glad to have a copy of my adoption story.  Enjoy! 

My parents had heard about my upcoming birth because my biological grandmother is a good friend of my dad’s sister. One of my aunts was also my birth mother’s Young Women’s leader. From the moment of the news that they were looking for adoptive parents, my parents were very hopeful that it would work out. Both my birth mother and grandmother wanted a special family for me that would raise me in the Gospel and be worthy to have me sealed to them. (Which my parents tried to do). My parents were a bit hesitant to hope too hard; they were afraid of having their hearts broken if it did not work out. Young mothers are well known for changing their minds and my mother was only 15 at the time.

I was born on September 22, 1984, and my parents heard about it that very day. My birth mother wanted to leave the hospital as soon as possible and wanted me to go to my parents the next day if possible. My parents were delighted to add a baby girl to our family. The next day my parents went to the government office where they saw me for the first time. It was immediate – the love they felt for me and the strong impression that I was meant to be with them. They felt that Heavenly Father had made it possible for them to be my parents. My three older brothers were so excited to have a baby that “would grow up to be a girl”. Everyone that my family knew was very surprised that there was a new baby, as they hadn’t told anyone about it for fear that it would not happen.
My parents then had to go through the government adoption procedure. They had the home studies and papers drawn up. They had to wait six months before the adoption could be final. My birth mother had all that time to change her mind. That was a very difficult thing to know that she could decide to take me back and that would be the way it would be. The papers were done wrong and then had to be redone and resubmitted to the courts – so the whole thing took over a year. My parents were finally approved and the very next thing that we did was go to the Cardston, Alberta temple to have me sealed to them. My brothers were all dressed in white (as was I) and we all were in the sealing room. It was a special day for all of us, it was also my mother’s birthday, and so she remembers it very well. The officiator in the temple had my father and mother kneel across the altar in the sealing room and then they put my little baby hand on theirs and sealed me to my family. It felt right and my parents knew that it was meant to be.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What I Learned Today

I should never come home to visit for long periods of time.
I hate chaotic primary.
I love structured school.
Ten year olds are annoying.
Six year olds are awesome.
I belong in first grade.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Help

Are you one of the three people left in the world who haven't read this book? 

If so, borrow it from your neighbor and read it now. 
Because next month the movie comes out. 
And I promise it will be SO much better if you have read the book. 
It is such an amazing story. 
I thought it was a little slow at first, but I soon became entranced. 
It made one of my ten hour drives go by super fast. 

Also, I think they picked the perfect actresses for this movie. 
I can't wait to see it! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh Canada!

Today is the very first day of July,
A special day - let me tell you why.
This is the day where we get to eat
Every delicious Canadian treat.
Poutine and timbits are in my tummy.
Both of them are oh so yummy!
We may even watch some fireworks,
While chowing down on some big turks.
Yes, today is a very special day:
It’s Canada’s 144th Birthday!

ps  I know I share this video every year, but I just love it so much.  I do have a lot of pride for my country, even though I have none for my Canadian History class.  It's just pointless.