The world is your oyster!: July 2009        
 
                 
     
       

These are a few of my favorite things:

summertime
pina-colada flavored italian ice
ribbons
sisters
i.n.s.t.a.n.t...o.a.t.m.e.a.l.
dance parties
pearls
flamingos
America
missionaries
s.u.n.g.l.a.s.s.e.s.
playgrounds
dressing up
love :)
     
       

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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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Friday, July 31, 2009

A comfortable spot

That's where I am right now. I feel very content with life in general. School will be starting in less than a month, which is so exciting, but I'm happy to have that month, too.


Before I came home I fully anticipated this summer being the worst summer OF my life. During March I started getting really worried, just thinking about how terrible it was going to be, and in April I had pretty much worked myself up into a frenzy about it. And when I came home, let's be honest, May sucked. ughh. I was very annoyed to be home. I just wanted to be back in Utah. I couldn't wait for school to start again. But in June, a couple things happened that I think made all the difference.


That is when I got my nannying job and my telemarketing job, and suddenly I started doing much better. I really consider myself very blessed to have these jobs. As much as I sometimes hate telemarketing, it is a good job for me. I choose my own hours, which is pretty much whenever I'm not nannying. So I have only been getting in like five hours of telemarketing a week....which really, how many places would actually think that's acceptable, for an employee to come in 5 hours a week? And admittedly it gets pretty boring, and it's kind of mind-numbing when I don't talk to anyone for a few hours, but it isn't super-strenuous and I actually do enjoy it when I make appointments.

I also consider it a blessing that I am working for Merriweather this summer. Working the Taylor Swift concert honestly made it all worth it! I love how disposable I am there because I don't need to work when I don't want to, but if I want to work a concert I'm totally welcome to.

And then of course there's piano, which I teach to my across-the-street neighbor, my little brothers and sisters, and my mom. We will be having a little piano recital at the end of the summer. I really should be more consistent at teaching everyone, every week but believe it or not, I think it's harder when you live with your students. Anyway my point is I'm excited for the recital because I don't know when I'm going to teach piano next. I'm planning to stay in Provo next summer and every summer from now on, so if all goes well with that, this could be the last recital I organize in a long time. Which I'm kind of okay with, but it's still a nice little way to end my last summer at home, I think.

Another thing that happened in June is Jake going into the MTC. The weeks leading up to his first day there were prettyy terrible. I just felt distraught and achy. But I am absolutely amazed by how happy I have felt since he's been in the MTC. I read his letters and I can tell he is a fantastic missionary. I know that he is exactly where he is supposed to be and knowing that makes me so happy. I never imagined that I would be able to feel this much happiness from something that is honestly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I thought that it would be so so hard, and I would just feel comforted knowing, deep down, that Jake is doing something that we both believe in, but that's not really the case. I really cannot bring myself to feel sad when I think of him. I know this is such a great blessing and I am so grateful for it.

So I've gotten into a routine that I really really like. I wake up, I go to nannying. At some point I usually take a nap while I'm there. Then I either go home or I go to telemarketing, depending on the day. During my free time, I write letters, scrapbook, talk to my sisters, read, work out, or facebook. On Saturday, I always figure out something fun to do. On Sunday, the pesticide boys come over for dinner. I love Sunday dinner. Now Joshua and Troy are gone :-( but we still have Jordan and TJ!

I guess technically, I work more than 60 hrs a week. Holy crap I just now took the time to calculate that....and it sounds like so much but it doesn't feel like it! Especially since I have naptime during the week and Saturday and Sunday off :-) Anyway, I need this last month at home. I just figured out all my money stuff and I am so excited because this summer I'll be earning enough money to pay my tuition for fall, winter, and spring term. I'm planning on getting a job during the school year anyway, so that works out perfectly! But, I do still need to work this last month.

At the same time, while I'm enjoying this summer, I am excited for school. I love BYU more than I can even express. I love my friends out there. I am thrilleddd that I get to go there and I'm so excited for the classes I've signed up for for next semester. So when the summer ends, I'll probably feel a little sad, but I'll get over it pretty quickly I think.

And that is why I'm in such a comfortable spot now. I love where I am. I am happy to be going at the pace that life is going.

In other news, Troy and Joshua are gone....whattt??? They left on Wednesday morning :-( It was a sad day for all. All the boys in the Sunday dinner crew came over to our house for a Belgian waffle breakfast at 7 am and then I headed off to nannying. I guess I wasn't too too sad because we decided that we (Kelly, me, Joshua, and Troy) are going to have regular lunches when we are out at college. They're going to LDSBC so we won't be able to take any classes together, but we are determineddd to have lunches. So I'm excited.

Last night I witnessed something in my home that I think does a splendid job of describing how things work in my family. Everyone was gathered downstairs in the basement for scriptures and prayer and all was going well. Anyone looking in might have mistaken us for a normal family, calmly reading the scriptures together. Then all of a sudden, my dad made some comment involving a hippo, and that was the cue for Nicole to burst into singing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Everyone caught the spirit and she successfully led the whole family in a rousing rendition that was not even cut short by our dad. (I still don't really know why. He is usually staunchly opposed to such displays of musical talent disrupting his scripture study. But whatever, apparently not tonight.) No one so much as batted an eyelash when Nicole started singing. And when the chorus finished up, we resumed our scripture study as though everything was normal.

And I guess, in my family, maybe everything was :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hello, Utah!

So I've been back from the family reunion for about a week at this point. It was a great vacation!!!

Highlights:

1. The Oquirrh temple openhouse. I love temple openhouses like more than I can even say. I think that every temple is like the prettiest place in the world and I love just walking through the temple. Unfortunately, we drove to the Jordan River temple so we were almost an hour late to the time on our ticket, but they let us in anyway.

2. Dinner at Shoots. After the openhouse we met up with Winnie and had dinner at Shoots, where she works. It was so delicious and we had a lot of fun just visiting with each other.
3. Seeing the Crafts! After dinner we got to go visit Jake's family and it was so much funn to see them all again. We were sitting inside just chatting for a while and then we decided to go on a walk to visit the Cooks, too. We made it about 4 houses before we stopped in to see the Lees. Jordan Lee was one of Kelly's roommates her freshman year and they were all sitting outside so we stopped there and talked for a while. Then it turned into kind of a block party as other neighbors showed up. I met Jake's old piano teacher who is now the YW president, held someone's newborn baby, and watched two men race their scooters up the street and back. I love the whole atmosphere of this little neighborhood. Everyone knew everyone else and everyone was super-friendly and fun. It's the kind of neighborhood I want to live in when I grow up. Michelle Cook was at a meeting I guess so we didn't end up going to their house but just as we were about to leave from the Crafts, Michelle drove up. I was really excited to see her, too. Apparently Jake hasn't been sending his family pictures, so I showed them the ones he sent to me and then it was really time to go.

4. Back to BYU! Kelly and I stayed with her old roommates on Thursday night and in the morning we met up with the rest of the family at BYU and we showed them all around. It was fun to be back on campus again. I seriously love BYU, it is one of my favorite places in the world.

5. The Alpine Coaster. Friday was a little bit of driving, as we had to get from Provo to Midway, where the resort was that we were staying at (the Homestead Resort). Before getting to the resort we stopped at this thing called the Alpine Coaster which was really fun.

6. Family BBQ. I guess this is what really kicked off the family reunion because we all met up at this point in Midway for the BBQ. The food was way good and the company was too :) My favorite part was probbbbably when I put on my big gray sunglasses and Nick Poole called me a bug and made jokes about them for like 5 minutes straight. It was sO funny.

7. Meeting Bo. Kelly and I decided to go find the other sisters and Cousin Haleigh at the pool, but no one was answering their phones, and we didn't know where the pool was, so we found ourselves wandering kind of aimlessly along the road. We did manage to find the Homestead registration office, and we saw a worker replacing lightbulbs along the walkway. We asked him if he knew where Bigler Road was, since that's where we were staying, but he didn't know. He had a golfcart and he offered to drive us up to the Registration Center where someone for sure would know where we were staying. When we started talking to him, asking for directions, I had kind of a funny chain of thoughts go through my head. I thought, I know it's late at night, and maybe I shouldn't be asking a total stranger for directions, but here's why I'm going to. This is Utah. Automatically I trust people more when I am in Utah. He works here, so he's obviously not thatt bad, and he only has a golf cart. So what's he going to do, throw us both in the golf cart and go puttering down the road with us to his secret hideout in Midway, Utah? Plus, I was feeling a little annoyed that no one was answering their phones, and I was really supposed to be dancing the night away at Studio 600 with Winnie and Kelly, so if he did choose to zoom off with us in his golf cart, I would kindd of be okay with it. That was my assessment of the risk factor involved in asking this man for directions. At any rate, we got in his golf cart and went up to the office. Bo was a carpenter but there was no work for carpenters anymore, so he had taken the job as a fixer-upper kind of guy at the Homestead Resort in March or so. He said he hated it, but he was very pleasant to us and I liked him a lot. He was smoking a cigarette when we first approached him and as he thought about what we asked he dropped his cigarette and crushed it with his toe. "You girls probably hate cigarettes, disgusting things," he said. I do hate cigarettes but we just laughed when he said that. At the registration office they remembered us and told Bo where to take us. The approximately 2 minutes that it took to drive to our place in the golf cart were punctuated by Bo's half-serious jokes about how he was surely going to crash and kill us all. (The headlights were out and he was holding up a pen light to show the way. But I mean, we were going like 20mph, and I don't think Kelly was anymore worried than I was about crashing.

8. The pool. We went to the pool on the resort several times during our stay. The first time was Saturday day. Practically the whole family was there. I kind of feel uneasy every time I'm in a public pool, just thinking about all the germs floating around in the water, and I wonder if maybe that is why I take so long to get all the way in the water. (I used to think it was because my body just has to get used to the cold water but now I am wondering if it's the germs I keep thinking about.) Regardless, we all had a lot of fun in the hot tub, outdoor pool, and indoor pool.

9. Picture time. We left the pool about 3 hours before it was time to take family pictures to give ourselves enough time to get ready. Uncle Brett made fun of us as we were leaving, saying, "Oh, you better hurry, don't want to be late" etc. but in typical Connor fashion, we came traipsing into the chosen area for pictures slightly late...but prettyy! and handsome. When we weren't taking pictures the girl cousins were collaborating on and practicing the Single Ladies dance for the Talent Show.

10. Luau dinner and talent show. Omg I have never had such good sweet potatoes in my lifeee. The food was all so delicious, provided by the Homestead resort. There was a slideshow going through the dinner in honor of Grandma and Grandpa Hammer (this whole reunion was for their 50th wedding anniversary) and after everyone was done eating we had some time to practice for the talent show. The Connor kids all did a little dance to "I Wanna Talk About Me" which we have actually been trying to get Joseph to agree to doing for like his whole entire life. So this was kinddd of a big deal. Then there was the girl cousin's dance to Single Ladies....we just did the first minute or so and not the real choreography but it was still fun. Grandma and Grandpa gave speeches following the talent show which were very funny and tender. Another of my favorite parts of the show was when Beth told a story about Grandma. She said that the first time she met her was shortly after she had married Nick. Grandma looked her in the eye and very seriously said, "Beth, you have never made love until you have made love in the back of a car." That just showes what kind of relatives I have, I guess :) Gotta love them. Another thing that was funny was that Kelly had one of her FHE brothers, Jordan, come sing "Lucky" by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat (it sounded wayy good) and of course he was teased mercilessly by our family, even though there is about as much nothing going on between Kelly and Jordan as there is between Kelly and one of our cousins. (Kelly I REALLLYYY want to make a joke here but I won't. Just because I'm the best sister ever.) Anyway so they did their number and then we did the girl cousins number of All the Single Ladies and afterwards Cousin Ammon who was MCing the whole event goes, "Do you hear that, Jordan? You better put a ring on it!" And I like, dieddd laughing. I thought it was the best joke of the night. I'm not sure Jordan felt the same way though....oh well!

11. Seeing Christine and Winnie! On Sunday we went to church (Kelly and I sat next to a UofU basketball player in Sunday School =D) and then it was straight to the pool. The weather was perfect for tanning but apparently my skin missed the memo and sadly I am just as white as ever. Christine and Winnie came up to visit and it was great to see them. We talked and tanned and then had dinner with the rest of the family.

12. Movie night! Kari and Haleigh came over for a girl's night movie night complete with bing cherries, triscuit crackers, flip sides, and strawberries. We pushed the beds in the girls room together and all piled on to watch The Dark Knight.

13. The crater. At the Homestead Resort there's this crater that is some sort of natural hot spring. You take this little tiny trail and you end up in this kind of underground pool. They just put in a walkway and a ladder into the water and people can go swimming there. Apparently there are only 2 of these in the world and only one of them in the US. We didn't get to go swimming there, we just went in and saw it for like a second, took a few pictures, and then we had to leave. My favorite part of this was actually when we were walking up to the crater after checking out of the resort. My dad was walking ahead of Kelly, Julie, Sarah and I and was crackingg uppp. He would say a few words, then crack up laughing again. No one could hear what he was saying but just watching him laugh at his own joke so hard made all of us laugh, too. (About an hour later, when we asked about it, we learned that he was laughing because he kept thinking about Joseph's shoes. Earlier this morning, Joseph had lost his shoes and he was now sporting his black Sunday shoes with his shorts and t-shirt. While we were walking to the crater my dad couldn't stop laughing as he thought about what a dork Joseph was going to look like when we went through security at the airport, etc.

14. Cookie-ice-cream exchange. When we checked out of the resort, they gave us enough cookies for all the kids to have one. Nicole, Joseph, Jacob, and my mom were still back at the resort so Kelly, Julie, Sarah and I were holding onto the cookies for the others and we kept wanting to eat their cookie. If we ate both cookies, they would never know we had had cookies in the first place. Then we thought about maybe being nice and giving them each a half of a cookie and saying they had only given us enough for ourselves and then we'd look all benevolent and generous when we gave them their half of the cookie. But dad was all, that wouldn't be right, etc., so he took the cookies so we couldn't eat them. When we were driving back towards the airport, following my mom's car, they suddenly pulled over, Joseph got out out, and came running back to our car with ice cream for all of us. Then we felt really glad that we had cookies to give to them!

15. Seeing Jamie, Aaron, and baby. On the way to the airport we stopped by Orem to see Jamie and Aaron and baby James. We only got to stay for about 20 minutes before we had to get to the airport but it was really nice to see them again. They are doing well and their baby is beauuutiful, he's so cute and sweet.

16. The actual flight home. I don't really know if anyone else in the family would consider this a highlight, but it was one of the most pleasant flights I have ever been on, personally. As a general rule, I hate flying. Every time I've flown I have felt like my head is about to explode. When my ears pop it hurts so bad that the flight is a totally miserable experience, even though I'm sure the flight attendants are funny and sweet and the snacks are yummy and the turbulence is minimal. But I've really gotten better at flying recently--it doesn't hurt so badly anymore and I actually quite enjoy looking out the window as we fly now--so I think it must be because I just wasn't used to it. I took my first flight in February 07 but until I went to college last fall I hadn't flown again since that time. Every time I fly it gets a little bit better. I guess my ears are just getting used to the pressure or something? Whatever the reason, this flight was lovely for me and kind of disastrous for the rest of the family. Kelly left her backpack with her laptop and cell phone charger at the resort. Julie threw away her boarding pass right before we were supposed to board (luckily my dad had printed out two for each of us in a stroke of genius foresight) so that particular disaster was averted. We had to switch planes in St. Louis and on the flight to St. Louis, Sarah managed to spill her burning-hot hot chocolate all over herself, Nicole spilled her water all over Julie, Julie broke her flipflop, and the brothers misplaced the dvd player, all the dvds, and both gameboys. Whereas Nicole's spill on Julie resulted only in mild discomfort, Sarah's spill resulted in a ruined pair of pants, burned legs, and a scream that the people we were flying above probably heard. I'm sure the flight attendants lovvved us on this flight. When we got off the plane, Sarah was wearing a stained shirt and a hoodie zipped up around her legs and tied in front and Julie was stumbling around with no shoes on. Of course, the souvenir stores in the airport had nothing by way of clothing either of them, so we cheerfully boarded the plane back to MD. This was a shorter flight, and less eventful, but when we got out at the airport, we discovered that the boys and sarah each had a bag missing. All in all, it wasn't exactly ideal, but it seems that everything went smoothly for me. Maybe ironically?

In conclusion. I had a really wonderful time on this vacation! I love meeting up with people I haven't seen in a while and I love my family. They are so cute and dear and even with all their silly little quirks that I'm sometimes shocked by, at the end of the day, I am absolutelyy one of them, and I couldn't be happier if I was anyone else.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hummmumumumumm, Utah, here I come!

I am really really ridiculous excited to be going to Utah in a few days. We're having a family reunion with my mom's side and I just cannot wait. Of course I am excited for all the normal things associated with any family reunion....seeing the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents, taking family pictures, etc. But here is a short list of other things I am excited for:

1. The Oaker temple openhouse. I am pretty sure I left my recommend in Utah with all the rest of my stuff, so I haven't been in so long. I used to go every Wednesday with Jake for about a month and a half, and I loved it. And I realize that going through an openhouse is totally different from actually going through and doing baptisms or whatever, but I'm still just so excited to see the temple and be inside one. This is pretty much the first thing we are doing when we land in UT on Thursday.

2. Horse-back riding? This may or may not happen, it just depends. If we do end up doing it, it will happen on Thursday after the temple openhouse. While we were discussing the logistics and where and when tonight at Family Night (which was another circus, in case anyone was wondering), Kelly said she would be fine with going and remarked that she was excited for the pictures. She then went on to say that every time an activity comes up, she bases how much she wants to do it on the number and quality of photo ops associated with said activity. This is pretty much how I am, too. We seriously love taking pictures, as you can probably tell from my facebook, on which I have like 1700 pictures of myself.

3. BYU tour. We are hoping to do this either after the temple or the horses. I lovvve BYU and I am so excited to be going back. And of course, I think it will be so fun to show all my brothers and sisters where I take classes and eat lunch with Kelly, etc.

4. Shoots. After the BYU tour, we will go to Winnie's restaurant, Shoots, for dinner. Hopefully. Timing may be an issue but I hope we can go!

5. Seeing Jake's family! Apparently the only time we will be able to see them is Thursday night after all the stuff I just listed. But I want to see them so bad. I like, lOVe this family. I keep thinking about how much fun I had when I visited them and everyone played cards or ate or whatever. I guess I just love the sociality that exists in their home if that makes sense. Plus I think it's cool how perfectly our families match up. Jake is my age, Mekell is Nicole's age, Cole is Joseph's age, Cade is Jacob's age, and Lilly is Sarah's age. So Kelly and Julie are the only people who don't match up with someone exactly but whatever that is still so cool!

6. The talent show. After many many many years of failed efforts to persuade him, Joseph has consented to lip-synch the song "I wanna talk about me" while the sisters all dance around behind him. How funny is that going to be. Seriously! He is the first boy after 4 girls, all of whom love to talk, so his whole life pretty much has consisted of a lot of listening to girl talk. All the girls, at least, are pretty pumped about this performance.

7. The pool. There is a pool and a hot tub where we are staying and i HAVE to get a tan during this vacation. I can't tan any other time because when I'm nannying, I'm usually inside, and when I'm outside, I have to stay in the shade because Owen has super-sensitive skin and he gets sunburned really easily. I guess I couldd tan on Saturdays but I typically just sleep in instead. So I have to go swimming and get a tan here.

8. Glow dance party!!!! Studio 600 heard we were coming and they got so excited they planned a party just for US. I haven't gone dancing since, like, December. I mean I kind of went in January to the White-out, but I didn't even get in. And when I went to the Traffic light dance on Center St. in February, I don't want to count that either because I was in a terrible mood and yes. So I'm pretty thrilled about this. I'm going with Winnie and Kelly and I guess whoever else and we are going to have an amaaaazing time. I'm seriously like about to pee my pants about this.

9. The tennis courts. I am not sure where they are, but my mom was saying they will be easily accessible to us. I am determined to learn how to play tennis because if I knew how to play I'm sure it would be so fun. I mean think about it. You just wear this cute little white skirt and a white polo and your tennis shoes and your ponytail and then you go play tennis! And you get a nice tan and they have suchh cute tennis rackets, with like pink handles and all, and I think that would be so fun. Plus it's good exercise.

10. The playgrounds. When my mom read this one during family night, I am pretty sure all of the sisters were thinking the same exact thing.....photo shoot! It's gonna be great.

So all in all, I am very excited about this weekend. However, there is one thing I am a little bit sad about. Jake's p-day is Wednesday, and I get a letter every Friday, so this week, I will be gone when my letter comes. Which I think is a little bit sad. But other than that, I really can hardly wait!