The world is your oyster!: June 2009        

These are a few of my favorite things:

pina-colada flavored italian ice
dance parties
dressing up
love :)


My name is Heather.

I am 22 years old.

I am an East Coast girl
who also loves Utah.

I love my life. How could I not?

The world is my oyster :)
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Monday, June 29, 2009

Happiness and Familyness

On Friday of last week, I got my first letter from Jake, and on Saturday, I got part two of that letter. So Friday was pretty much the best day ever...I made appointments for 4 people at work, went home, got a letter, and then went out with Kelly to Rita's. I've always loved writing and getting letters. I think I'm a good letter-writer, and when people write back it makes me sO happy. Especially this time! Jake is doing so well. He is loving the MTC and he's learning so much and making so many friends and he is so happy there. Reading his letter, I could tell that he was just happyy and it made me happy, too.

I also taught my sister Sarah a piano lesson on Friday. She's 7 and she lovvves piano. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age actually. I used to practice so much and I would go ahead in my book and try new variations on the songs and I thought I was so good and I just loved it. She is a fast learner and she likes to go ahead in the book, too. I'm also teaching Jacob piano, and Sarah is just a few songs behind him. I am worried that if she catches up to him, he will lose motivation and he won't want to practice as much anymore, so I've been trying to assign Sarah more songs from other books to make it take longer for her to move ahead. But she keeps trying new things on her own and that makes it a little more difficult too.

This week she started working on this one song that Jacob is still working on and even though it sounded good, considering that she had had no instructions from me on it, her timing was off, some of the notes were wrong, and it definitely wasn't ready to be passed off. I told her she did a really good job and that it was cool that she had worked on it on her own and she got really excited and said, "So I can pass it off?!" I said that we would have to keep working on it. As I was writing that in her book, she got really quiet and when I looked over she had tears in her eyes. I was alarmed because I had just told her that she had done a good job! How could she expect to pass off this song that she had been working on on her own after just one week of self-tutelage?

Then I stopped and thought a little more about it. She probably had gone on thinking of how much she would impress her piano teacher at her next lesson. Surely I would be so impressed by her initiative that I would enthusistically allow her to pass it off right away. She probably imagined me gasping in shock at her impressive abilities to learn a song of such difficulty on her own, me calling in other family members to hear her play. When you are seven you have such high hopes for yourself. Kids can envision themselves performing any number of things. They will be astronauts, ballerinas, firefighters, and actresses. Even though I told her she had done a good job this week, my praise was so much less than what she had anticipated, what she had worked for. And so, realizing this, of course I felt a little bad.

But then I thought about it again. Sarah would recover. She really hadn't done well enough to pass the song off. And that was okay, because eventually she would get it. She would walk away from her piano lesson, practice really hard for another week, maybe another two weeks, and then she would pass it off. If she had imagined higher acclamations than a simple sticker and a few words of glowing praise from her teacher, she might be disappointed, but that was okay. Everyone is a little bit disappointed sometimes when others don't think their joke is as funny as they think it is, when a relationship doesn't work out because one person isn't as interested in the other, or when they don't get a job they feel they are perfectly qualified for because whoever is hiring doesn't see your potential the way that you do. Little disappointments happen, but we recover from them, and if we handle them the right way, we will grow from them, too.

Moving at nannying, I showed my letter from Jake to Malan. Jake also sent me a picture he drew of us which I thought was reallyy cute, so i showed that to Malan, too. She got very jealous and said that she wanted Jake to write her a letter too. I told her that if she wrote Jake a letter, he would probably write her one back. She dictated to me the following letter:

Dear Jake,

T. Please send Malan a letter. M. Or a fan. It was so great of her. Jacob. I want you to hold my hand too. Why didn't you say I love you, Malan? Jake. Jake-a. I love you and you want to hold my hand. Can I hold your hand please in one two three days? I did it so you love me. My grandma Tori loves me too. I will send you a mail but you didn't send one back but you don't love me. Look I have. You will hold my hand too. The fan is not for you, it's for my grandma Tori. Because you don't love me, but I said I love you Jake so you will hold my hand. Thank you. Thank you to your mom. Jake-a. Write me a letter too or Heather will cry and her family will be mean to her.


which I thought was hilarious. Nannying was so good today because Owen took a four-hour nap, which he practically put himself down for. While Malan and I were coloring, he started to fall asleep on the floor, so I fed him a bottle and put him in his crib. I seriously love nannying. I love Malan and Owen and I know I am going to miss them when I go back to BYU. I like hanging out with people my own age....I like it a lot, but I also really like hanging out with kids. They are just sweet, and even though we learned in my human development class that kids are very egocentric and they aren't really capable of thinking about other people as separate individuals who have feelings too, I know that kids care about other people. They understand raw emotions better than pretty much anyone else in the world. They haven't learned all about propriety and social taboos and so they are as pure as can be. Plus, how can you not miss getting paid to color, eat, and take naps?

Tonight we had family home evening. With 7 kids.....all of whom are really gets pretty loud at my house. We all really like each other, and there is so much weirdness and so many inside jokes that it can get really crazy when we are all together. I can't even begin to explain it. People just use weird voices and say stupid things and then everyone else cracks up. I often think that living with my family is like living in a musical, or in a reality tv show. (I swear that would make money if it existed.) At this particular family night, we were talking about the family reunion that is coming up on July 9th. We will all be flying out to Utah at about 7 a.m. We have never taken a flight as a whole family so it should be interesting. As we were going over the calendar for the upcoming two weeks, the noise level kept rising and rising. I am pretty sure my dad's blood pressure is directly related to the noise level in our house, so as we got louder and louder, he got more and more stressed. By the time we were halfway through Wednesday and our neighbors could have listened in if they wanted to, my dad decided that was enough and started yelling about how we really needed to be quiet because it was way too loud and he was going to start sending people to bed and they weren't going to be happy if this kept on, etc. My mom decided to start a quiet game in which participation was mandatory and for the rest of the night she kept a running tally for everyone who was talking out of turn with the promise of a fantastic reward to be given to the winner. Things quieted down considerably, but my dad was still very stressed and I guess he felt like someone had to be punished so he stopped listening to the calendar entirely and glared around the room instead, pouncing on anyone who opened their mouth too widely. It turned into a big pick-on-everyone-else-fest and by Friday, July 10th, feelings were hurt and three people had left the room in annoyance. With the calendar over, Dad yelled that it was his turn and that everyone had better get back in the kitchen for his lesson on.....etiquette?

....Ironic? Maybe?

Regardless, everyone came back and soon the musical started up again, our collective good humor restored by togetherness. It is one of my favorite things in this life that I am friends with the people in my family. I love love love all of my siblings and my parents. They might drive me crazy sometimes but I honestly wouldn't trade them for anything.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Booties and Dreams

Today I had nannying (like usual) and during naptime I had the funniesttt dream. In my dream, I was nannying for Malan and Owen, except I was in Jake's house. Either that or his whole family had moved into the house I was in. It was so stressful because I wasn't allowed to have naptime anymore and then Lilly (Jake's 7-yr-old sister) peed her pants (she is actually way too sophisticated to do that) and I wasn't sure if I was expected to do anything about it, especially because her mom was right there and she just wasn't doing anything about it. Then Malan peed her pants too, and she just kept peeing and peeing everywhere, on everything. And in my dream there was a pool in the kitchen, and I ended up sitting with my feet in the pool discussing with Jake's dad the pros and cons of us drowning ourselves in it. He was all depressed because Jake is on his mission now and I just didn't want to deal with the peeing anymore. Before we could decide if we should drown ourselves, there were two huge car accidents outside the house. They weren't related but they happened one right after the other. So I went to look at them and the General Manager for the DC Metro System was there, only in my dream, that was Brother McGhie. He saw Jake's dad and I coming outside and he told us that if we did drown ourselves, then he would marry Jake's mom. I guess Jake's dad still wasn't sure if he should go ahead and drown himself or not, because he started telling Brother McGhie all about Halli's favorite Henna tatoo that she ever got, and her favorite gas station, and stuff like that. As they were talking, I started crying because I couldn't bear the idea that Brother McGhie might be my father-in-law. Anyway, then I woke up. I thought it was a pretty hilarious dream, even though it ended with me in tears and Jake's dad contemplating suicide.

Also, today, I brought Bikini Body, my favorite workout video, and Malan and I worked out together. She started coming up with her own exercises towards the end but she did a pretty good job working on her belly and booty. Speaking of Malan's booty, the other day, I was sitting across from her at the table and we were coloring, just like normal, when she stood up, turned around, grabbed the back of her chair, and starting shaking her butt at me. I said, "Malan, whattt are you doingg?" She started giggling and just kept shaking her butt at me. I said, "Malan, why are you doing that?" She said, "Because I like you! That's what you do when you like people!" I hope she changes her mind when she gets older. Otherwise she will have some problems. Not problems with getting people to like her, necessarily, just the right people.

Anyway this week Patty (Malan and Owen's mom) is at Girl's Camp, so I have really weird times for nannying, which means I have more time to work at my telemarketing job. I have to go in tomorrow at 9. I didn't work at allllll last week because Winnie and Helen were in town, and I guess I really should actually go once in a while. I will probably have to blog about telemarketing because it is kinddd of like The Office on NBC, just on a smaller scale. There aren't as many employees. But seriously. Sometimes it is just so surreal working there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Comfort Zones

Tonight, I went ice-skating with my sisters Kelly and Sarah. Sarah is 7, and it was an institute activity, but we brought her along anyway. As I was skating around, I thought a lot about the ice-skating class I took at school last semester. It was one of my favorite classes of the semester and I think that one of the reasons I liked it so much was because it was kind of out of my normal comfort zone. Usually for electives I take a dance class with Kelly. Which, we still did last semester, but anyway. I think loved that class because I learned something new when I was there. I totally saw improvement in myself from the beginning of the class to the end. I used to go ice-skating almost every year on New Years Day when they have like 2 or 3 hrs of free skating time in the morning, and every year I just clung to the wall or someone's arm and didn't really do anything. I was clearly inept at skating. But by the end of the class, I could go forward without holding onto anyone! I could go backwards! I could spin....kind of.....a little bit. I could do swizzles! I could evennn pick my foot up and glide a little ways. I liked that class because I saw marked improvement and that was nice to be able to quantify it.

Also. Speaking of comfort zones. I think everyone has two comfort zones, and one of them is what you are comfortable doing like all the time, no problem. It's what you do in a normal day. Or what you would be willing to do in a normal day. Then there's another comfort zone that is what you would feel comfortable trying, even though you kind of feel uncomfortable about it. And then past that, there's all the stuff you would never ever try because it is just so far removed from your comfort zone. And I think that some people have a huge outer level of their comfort zone. They are willing to try pretty much anything that they don't feel comfortable with. And other people are willing to try like nothinggg out of their comfort zone. I think that I am kind of in the middle. I am willing to try new things if I can see the benefit that it has for me and I am willing to try new things that won't really benefit me but can't hurt if someone I like wants to do them with me. For instance, skydiving. I have never had any interest in skydiving. Whatsoever. I think it sounds scary and totally unpleasant and kind of dumb and overrated. But if my boyfriend really liked skydiving and he wanted to take me, I guess I'd go with him. But I'm pretty sure if this scenario never happens, I will not be going skydiving um ever. That's all for today :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

NYC, DC, and Baltimore

So I guess the starting / keeping of this blog was inspired largely by my sister, Kelly, who got a blog like in February, and also by Jake leaving on his mission, because now I'm writing letters and I am seeing all these things that I should probbbably be writing here I am.

I'll just start out by talking about this past week. Winnie and her sister Helen came out from Utah to visit for a week and it was sO fun. They flew in on Friday and we drove up to New York, where we stayed until Sunday afternoon. We stayed in New Rochelle with Laurel Lan and her family....she used to be in the YW presidency with my mom about 2 years ago. They were so sweet and hospitable the whole time and it was really nice of them to let us stay with them because they are about to move in like 2 weeks and things must be so crazy for them. We took the train in to NYC and saw the Statue of Liberty, walked on Broadway, took the ferry to Staten Island and back, ate some New York pizza, shopped in Chinatown, and went to the giant Toys 'R' Us in Times Square. We had so much fun taking pictures and all, even when it started raining as we walked from the World Trade Center memorial to Little Italy for dinner. The whole thing was really fun for me because even though I live like 4 hrs away from NYC, I've only been a few times in my life and the only reason I went was because of Winnie and Helen. I guess it's true that you never really appreciate what you have!

When it was time to go home, the lady at Grand Central Station told us the wrong train to get on and after waiting an hour to board the wrong train, we were dropped off at a train station in Connecticut and given tickets to get back to New Rochelle. We then proceeded to miss our stop and ended up stranded at the train station in Pellham, New York, watching the last train for the night leave the station. Thankfully Laurel was able to come get us and it wasn't too far!

And of course, no road trip involving Connor girls would be complete without us getting lost. Which we did on the way home the next day. We missed one exit and when we tried to backtrack, we found ourselves driving around some town in New York full of one-way streets, missing street signs, and unhappy-looking townspeople. This time, Brother Blasko came to our rescue. He stayed on the phone with us until we were back on the main highway and I really don't know whattt we would have done without him!

On Monday, I had nannying from 8-5. I started nannying 2 weeks ago for this family who lives about 5 minutes away. There is a little girl named Malan (May-lynn) who is 3 (but when I asked her, she said she was 14) and a little boy named Owen who is 9 months. They are suchhh sweet kids. Malan is probably one of the girliest girls I have ever met. She loves makeup and nail polish and dresses and fancy shoes and purses and dancing and singing. She also really likes talking. She is so chatty and she says the funniest things. On my third or fourth day nannying, she said: "I love you all my heart" to me. It was so cute!

Owen has a birthmark on half of his face and his skin is super-sensitive to sun and stuff, so whenever we go outside I have to put lots of sunscreen on him. At first I noticed it a lot but now I hardly even notice that it is there. One day I took Owen and Malan on a walk and when we were waiting on a street corner to cross the street, this guy who was probably about 20 or so was walking by. He stopped and looked at Owen and said, "What happened to that baby's face?" all stupidly. And at first I was alarmed, because I didn't realize he was talking about his birthmark and I thought something had happened to Owen's face while we were on the walk. Then I realized what he was talking about and I said, "Oh! It's just a birthmark." But the whole exchange actually really annoyed me. You know how some people just exude stupidity? This guy would definitely fit in that category. If I were to totallyyy judge him, I would say he had no job and no gumption whatsoever. He was overweight and smoking a cigarette (which, I don't understand in the first place, why would anyone smoke in this day and age when we know so much about smoking and there is pretty much a direct correlation between smoking and everything unpleasant that could happen to your body) and I really wanted to say something snotty to him. I wanted to say, "Oh, his parents were smoking when he was born" but I didn't because, even though Owen isn't going to pick up on it, Malan probably would, and people are going to ask questions about Owen's birthmark. It's just something that people aren't always aware of. And if I could respond like it was a natural question with a natural answer, then it wouldn't seem so much like something to be embarrassed of.

Anyway, Owen is a really sweet baby most of the time and taking care of him is fairly straightforward. Malan, on the other hand, needs something different every day. Most of the time she will be happy just coloring, but 8-5 is a long time and she needs a big variety of activities. So sometimes we will go on a walk, or play with sidewalk chalk, or make something to eat, or have a dance party. One day she had so much energy and Owen was being really fussy so I just gave him a bottle and put him down for a nap and then I timed Malan running from one side of the living room to the other with the stopwatch on my phone. She did that for like a half hr and then she was ready to just sit and color.

So on Monday, Winnie and Helen slept in and then at about noon they came over and played with Malan and Owen and me. After that we went to the temple with my family and took some pictures there. I love living close to a temple, and I think the DC temple is so beautiful, so that was fun.

On Tuesday, I had the day off from nannying, so Winnie, Helen and I just hung out the whole day. We went to the Columbia mall and did a little shopping. It was probably the most successful shopping trip of my whole life! I got a pink dress with sleeves, a headband with a bow, some sunglasses, and some Chick-Fil-A fries for $10. I KNOW. It was pretty sweet.

Then we took the metro up to Woodley and spent a few hrs in the National Zoo. It was a perfect day and we got some cute pictures. By the way, I love elephants. A lot. They smell like terrible but their mannerisms are so cute to me.

On Wednesday I was nannying again. Jake went into the MTC so I talked to him for the last time on the phone for about a half hr before he had to go. Then I just sat in Malan's room for about 2 hrs while she handed me tissues and asked me why my heart was breaking. She was being so sweet! At one point she started making faces at me to get me to smile and I had to laugh at that.

Thursday was the girl's last day in Maryland :( and I was nannying again. My Aunt Carol and Uncle Brett and Grandma Hammer came for dinner and after that Kelly, Winnie, Helen and I went up to Little Italy in Baltimore for some frozen yogurt and just to see the Inner Harbor. We went to this place called Mr. Yogato's that we discovered on Kelly's birthday celebration this year and it is like, my favorite place. It is so good and pretty cheap and there's a room in the back where you can decorate a spoon version of yourself, just stuff like that. And the walls are bright yellow and hot pink and I love it.

Today, we dropped them off at the airport. The last time Winnie and I said goodbye when I was leaving UT to come back to MD for the summer was miserable and we were both such a mess. This time there were no tears because I will be seeing her again in July when my mom's side of the family is having a family reunion. I'm prettttyy excited. I miss Utah! Then I went nannying and now I am babysitting for the Walburgers. I seriously think that babies and little kids are like, therapeutic. I love themm. I guess it's a good thing I am going to be a teacher!

Anyway, I think that this is like the world's longest blog entry so I'm gonna close now. Good night!