The world is your oyster!: August 2012        

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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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Highlighter Woes

I just spent my Recess time trying to get the lid of a highlighter out of a shoe.
The lid had been wedged in between the pink things on the bottom of the shoe. 

How, you may wonder?

I was teaching a lesson on long vowels and short vowels. One of my girls, who is normally pretty chatty (and very happy about it) started to look a little concerned. I wondered what was wrong but didn't worry too much about it until she came up to me, looking like she was about to cry, and said:

"Miss Connor, I just broke a rule and I think you're going to have to - because I wasn't following directions, so I think I'm going to have to pull a card and you're going to have to call my mom and she's not going to be very happy because I got my lid of my highlighter stuck in my shoe because I wasn't following directions....."

"You got your highlighter stuck in your shoe?" I asked.

She nodded miserably. 

I didn't even know what to say. I mean, what would you say? The girl was about to have a panic attack and all I wanted to do was laugh! So I told her I'd help her at recess and sent her back to her desk. 

Three minutes later, I was jamming a dry erase marker in between the pink things, trying to get it under the highlighter lid justtt enough to wiggle it out of the shoe.

Two minutes after that, I was giving up and bringing the shoe to another teacher.

"That's hilarious!" she said. "How did that even happen?" 

"How did this happen, M?" I asked. 

Her golden response? "I just wanted to put my highlighter in my shoe so I could show K, because it was funny, but then it got stuck and I didn't show her because it wasn't even funny like I thought it would be."

The other teacher shook her head. "I don't know how to get it out....maybe bring it to Mike, he probably has some pliers or something. You've got to take a picture of that," she added.

"Take a picture of it and then we can show it to my mom!" my girl said on the way down the hall to find Mike. 

Please remember that this was the girl who, just minutes before, was prepared to burst into tears at the thought of having to tell her mom about the card she might have to pull. 

"I don't think your mom would like that too much," I said. 

The smile disappeared. "Oh yeah, maybe don't take a picture," she said.

Mike was driving around a cart with some complicated electrical something-or-other when we found him in the hallway and asked him to get a highlighter lid out of a shoe. 

The tools that eventually dislodged it, in order of use, include:

1. a pen
2. a pair of scissors
3. the highlighter itself
4. the highlighter AND the pen at the same time
5. a pair of biggish pliers
6. a pair of needle-nose pliers

Lessons learned: 

1. Don't stick your highlighter lid in your shoe.
2. Don't expect to get anything done during Recess.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

One Week Down

Seven days ago, I was nervously trying to fill my planner. I was typing up ideas. I was bidding farewell to life as I knew it and making last-minute preparations to dive into a new life, one that involved 24 cute faces and thirsty minds.

Six days ago, I was making Sunday dinner with my roommate and rolling my hair in socks. I thought, "This is probably the last time I will have time to make Sunday dinner for at least 9 weeks." I thought, "This is almost definitely the last time I will have curly hair at school." Six days ago, I was lying awake for a good 2 hours, stressing and wondering and smiling and remembering.
I might have been a little afraid of this happening. 
Five days ago, I was eating muffins made by my wonderful roommate for my first day of school. I was leading those 24 cute faces into my classroom. I was giving a lesson on how to use liquid glue. I was eating lunch in the teacher's lounge. I was jogging around the gym with a whistle in my mouth, surrounded by a herd of children. I was going with my friends to The Chocolate to celebrate a successful first day.

Four days ago, I was sitting in New Teacher Induction. I was being handed papers about testing and retirement and insurance. I was staring blankly at a screen that spewed information at me at an alarming pace. My mind was flitting back and forth between two thoughts: "What does that even mean" and "I wonder how my class is doing?"

Three days ago, I was praising my students for how good they had been while I was gone. I was planning how I wanted to teach literacy for the next 6 weeks. I was getting my Mac-daddy. I was putting a huge band-aid on a bloody gash that seemed to not affect the kid sporting it in the slightest.

Two days ago, I was wearing a bright orange vest over my teacher clothes and patrolling the playground. I was making copies [read: killing trees] like nobody's business. I was taking my class to assembly after assembly. I was answering e-mails from parents. I was saying, "Today, I had three students cry. Is that normal?"And I was told that yes, it is, depending on the day.

Yesterday, I was giving a spelling test. I was discovering that two of my students have met Selena Gomez, one has met Justin Bieber, and one has met Taylor Swift. I was getting a little offended and clarifying that, no, I am not 30 years old, thanks for asking. I was reading a note written with purple gel pen that said: "Dear Miss Conner I hope you like This kus you luky to have me and I'm Luky to have you."

Teaching is like, the best thing. There are downsides - like never being able to go to the bathroom during the day, making half-salary (Class, what's one-half of nothing?), and the commute, but it's the only thing I want to be doing. I love feeling so tired after a long day of teaching, planning, and driving, and going to bed happy because tomorrow I get to wake up and do it all over again. I hope I never lose that feeling.

Smooth Move, Ferguson

Here's the thing about me: I love The Bachelor(ette). I love watching all those guys / girls compete for the love of one woman / man. But I have never had any interest in taking part of such a competition. (Except for that one time when I had a lapse of judgment and almost tried out to be on the show.) So, with that in mind.....

Dear Boy,

Thank you for the invite. I'm sure the other girl was just as excited when you invited her as I was when you invited me. It's kind of cute the way you thought that would be a good idea.

I guess I should apologize for the way I so blatantly refused to play along. I'm sorry that I can count the number of times I spoke to you on one hand. I'm sorry that when I told you I was bringing some friends, I forgot to mention that most of them were boys. I'm sorry that I enjoyed talking to them infinitely more than I enjoyed talking to you. I'm sorry that I didn't look your way whenever you had a supposed-to-be-funny outburst. That must have been frustrating for you, or at least a little annoying.

We all sometimes wish that we were The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette. There's something really exciting about the idea of a bunch of people all vying for your affection. And I'm sorry you didn't get to live that dream like you maybe were hoping. It just doesn't work as well when one of the competitors refuses to compete.

But it was fun.....really. Here's hoping that you have a happy semester, Boy. May your judgment improve dramatically.


PS: Lest you think that this was the only mistake you made: Strike one was when you failed to impress my friends. Strike two was when you hated on One Direction. Suchhh a bad choice.

Friday, August 24, 2012

To Teach is To....

....touch a life forever. At least, that's how the saying goes. But one might also finish this statement with any of the following: "To teach is to...."

- go to assemblies. All day, err day.

- make copies upon copies. Sometimes I think all I do is make copies.

- dream about all the things that could go wrong in your classroom. I just had a dream that my headphones at the Listening Center were getting used by student after student, and they just got grosser and waxier and gummier until I awoke with a jolt and a conviction that I needed new headphones.

- observe budding romances.
"Okay, I'm going outside now."
"Okay, me at....the slide."
"Okay. I'll meet you at the monkey bars."
"Actually, okay. Meet me at that one place for four-square?"
"I'll just be at the swings? Maybe?"
"Well, I'm just coming out now. We can walk together."
"Oh! Okay!"

- observe budding friendships.
"Miss Connor, K is pushing his chair into my desk."
"Miss Connor, M isn't minding her business."
"Miss Connor! I asked him not to and he's still doing it!"
You know these two are going to be BFF one day.

- despair over the rising generation.
"You need to be focusing on your work, I just keep seeing you sharpen your pencil over and over again - "
*flabbergasted* "But Miss Connor, I don't like work! It's not fun, I just don't like it, it's boring!"
"...........I'm sorry, you still need to do it. If I see you sharpening your pencil again, I'm going to take your sharpener away."

- rejoice over the rising generation.
I don't have a quote for this. I just have the world's cutest kids in my class.

- drive. I drive 45 minutes each way. As if this isn't enough, I've also been having dreams that I am driving. Just driving. And getting pulled over. And merging, and accelerating, and braking, and driving.

- file. I never filed before. Now I file anything and everything.

- live my dream. Fo real. In all honesty, I wake up in the morning with a smile on my face. I can't wait to go and see my class. Teaching is everything I ever hoped it would be, and more. So, so much more.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Jolly Good Fellow

Four days ago, I was settling down for a responsible, early-to-bed kind of weekend, hoping that if I could just master going to bed at a decent hour for two days in a row, I would be all ready for school to start on Monday.

Four days ago, my early-to-bed weekend plans were shot when I received an invitation to attend President Monson's birthday celebration.

Which I accepted.


It was a very swanky to-do, meaning that it took place at the Conference Center in Salt Lake and you had to be dressed up to attend.

There was an opera singer, some Broadway singers, an ex-TV lady, an ex-football player, and of course, the guest of honor:

He waved at me. You know I'm pumped about that. 

Dear President Monson,

There are many things I love about you.....You have a winning smile. I can picture you teasing your wife, Frances. Your talks never fail to amuse and touch. You wiggle your ears and stick out your tongue. You are kind of like the Princess Diana of us Mormons - pre-divorce of course, or at least pre-car accident. Everyone loves you. 

But you know what I love most about you?

I love that I felt sad when President Hinckley died. He had been my prophet. You were nice too, but I wasn't too sure about you, if I'm being honest. 

Then you came to BYU to give a devotional. I wiggled into the closest seat I could find. You walked in and we all stood. We sat. You gave your devotional. You said, "I invoke His blessings upon you, in this crowded audience," and I've never forgotten it. Someone prayed. 

You stood to walk out. You made it to the tunnel where the basketball team runs in every time there is a game. You waved. You reached up and shook someone's hand, and then another person's. Two little girls leaned over the railing, waving little notes they had written. You reached up and took the notes, shook their hands, and then walked out through the tunnel. 

I love that the cameras didn't catch it, but I did. I love that that was the moment when I knew that you were the prophet for this day. 

Happy birthday, Thomas S.!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I just had the following phone conversation with my little baby sister:

Me: Have you started school yet?

Her: Not yet, we start on the 27th.

Me: Oh wow! Are you excited?

Her: YES!.....sort, not really.

I feel you, girl.

Although every time I see this sign, I get a little bit more excited :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Spice Up your Closing Ceremonies

So, I was really tired today.

Probably about as tired as one might be if they had gone to bed at 6 in the morning.

Imagine watching the Closing Ceremonies of the Summer 2012 Olympics feeling like that.

It got a little bit trippy.

Which is why I decided to do this post on how I would have improved the Closing Ceremonies if I were the one in charge! Ehm:

1. I would have gotten rid of the roller-skating nuns. What? What was that?

2. I would have changed Jessie J's outfit. I would have given her a really fluffy charcoal-gray sparkly tulle skirt to wear with her leotard.

3. I would have reunited the Beatles. If the Spice Girls could come back together, so could the Beatles! [John Lennon and George Harrison would just have to work something out. It's the Olympics. Get it together, guys.]

4. I would not have formed anyone's face with weird white puzzle pieces.

5. I would have kindly asked Annie Lennox to not perform.

How scary is this woman??
6. I would have definitely kept the Spartans out of it.

7. I would have given One Direction a cooler stage. If Annie Lennox gets a pirate ship, my boys definitely deserve something a little fancier.
Also, they would have been given a solid hour. And since I would be the one in charge, I would be on stage with them. And they'd be singing right to me. 
8. You KNOW there would have been no Russell Brand in my Closing Ceremonies.

9. Prince Harry would get double the face time that he did.

At least double. 
10. George Michael would not have sung "Freedom" or whatever the heck he sang. He would have sung "Faith."


11. The Spice Girls would not have stopped after only two songs. They would have stopped after.....twenty songs.

12. Victoria Beckham would have given me her dress after the Closing Ceremonies were over. (Also her husband.) What?

If only I really had been in charge. Even McKayla would have to be impressed.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Swearing After Midnight

So, I love my family. Soooo so so much. I think they are the best family in the entire world.

But this last weekend, I hung out with my pretend family here in Utah, who I told you about before, and it was very different than when I hang out with my Connor family in Maryland.

For example: my Connor brothers tackle me about 50% of the times that I try to tackle them. My Utah brothers tackle me whenever they walk past me. My Connor dad likes to go to bed before 11, 12 at the latest. For Uncle Wayne, the party is just getting started at 11 pm.

Here's a summary of the weekend, in dialogue form:

Me: So what's this game called?
Steve: This is Screw Your Neighbor.
Grandma: I think we should call it, Trick Your Neighbor, or Cheat Your Neighbor. Those sound nicer.
Uncle Wayne: What, Grandma, you don't want to screw your neighbor?
Grandma: You mean my grandson? No.
Valen: Kill your neighbor?
Me: Bum-squeeze your neighbor!

"Now we've gotta sit here and watch him play with them all night...." -a very unhappy Grandpa while Caden was shuffling the cards

"Oooh, sorry. You didn't hear that, right? Sorry....I swear after midnight." -Uncle Wayne

Uncle Wayne: Hey, put those away! I got those for breakfast tomorrow.
Grandma: Tomorrow's Fast Sunday....
*Everyone pounces on the donuts. Someone gets out milk. And chips. And another bag of chips as well.*
Steve: *pushing the chips towards me* Eat some NOW! Didn't you hear? Tomorrow's Fast Sunday!

"Be nice to your SISTER!" - any of the boys when one of their brothers punched, poked, tickled, squeezed, and harassed me in any way

Brad: Girls don't fart, they whisper in their panties.
Caden: Grandma, do you whisper in your panties?
Grandma: No, I scream.
Uncle Wayne --> Grandpa: She's your wife....

"You should know they're just doing this because you're here. So they all have to flex their hormones." -Grandpa

Valen: I'm flirting with her! We're txting and flirting right now!
Steve: Yeah, maybe you can shut up about it and take your turn....
Valen: Shut up, just because you don't have a girlfriend!
Steve: You're not gonna have one either when she comes over and sees how wild you are....
Me: Steve doesn't have a girlfriend because he's waiting to take my sister on a date in the fall!

"Next you'll be saying you yodel in your panties. Here come the yodelers! Boy, that'll ruin girls for you. I never would've wanted to get married if I had heard about this before." -Uncle Wayne

Steve: Noo-no!
Me: Noo-no? You mean Uno?
Steve: Noo-no what I meant!

And here is a list of the nicknames I earned, names I don't recall ever having been called by my own family:

- Woman
- Mama
- Sugar
- Toots
- Steering Wheel
- Four-wheeler
...............................don't ask. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Splish splash

At this point, I think it's pretty evident that I love EFY. But there is one thing that I don't love about it, and that is The Water Challenge.

Every week, the Health Counselor comes out and gives a little spiel in which she reminds everyone that it is hot, and that water should be ingested as often as possible throughout the week to avoid any dehydration. She then adds an incentive: whichever company drinks the most water, and tells her about it in the most creative / funny / cool way, will have the grand privilege of pouring a cooler of ice-cold water on their counselors.

The kids love it. They make up skits, songs, and poems. They bring their empty water bottles to the health counselors as a sort of [unburnt] burnt offering. They write letters, draw pictures, and break into spontaneous cheers to demonstrate their commitment to, and affection for, water.

The counselors also love it. They buy their kids colorful post cards and encourage them to write love letters to water on them. They stand by the cooler every mealtime, making sure that everyone in their company gets a water bottle. They stand around in patches of shade, fanning themselves, chattering about how they hope their company wins.

And then, there's me. The lone counselor who doesn't get into it. The black sheep who, shockingly, doesn't want water poured on me. The odd duck who actually encourages her group to grab soda and skip the water table.

My first week, I was just kind of quiet about it. I didn't actively discourage my group from trying to win. My opposition to the program showed itself in a tiny sigh of relief when another company won and I watched a counselor, who was not me, get soaked.

This week, I couldn't even contain myself. I don't know why! I just couldn't bring myself to keep my head down! So I told my group, straight-up, that I did not want to win the water challenge. I told them honestly how I felt about having water poured on me, how sad I feel when my hairs and makeup get all messed up. I looked earnestly into their eyes as I told them my concerns.
Then I.....pooped out a box of fruit roll-ups? 

Well I don't know why, but for some reason, my pleas fell on deaf ears. And while I spent the first half of the week frantically begging them to put the [water] bottle down, they spent that time chugging and gulping and asking for refills. Also, my co-counselors got way into it.

I was so alone.

Luckily, one person was on my side: Alaura, the health counselor. The decider of the winning company, and as it follows, the decider of my fate. She stood to announce the winners, and once again, I experienced the joy of seeing another (6) counselors get soaked.

I walked away from another water challenge, happily dry. 

My loss might have gone to my head a little tiny bit. I might have said a few little things like, "Hey guys, remember that time we lost the water challenge?" and "Whew, good day to lose the water challenge!"

My happiness got a little smudged when the boys formed a huddle and refused to let the girls know what they were talking about. Since I obviously had the Spirit with me, I had an inkling that they were plotting a way to dump water on me. And this inkling made me a little paranoid.....

.....which paranoia manifested itself in the form of me refusing to go anywhere without my phone and me yelling at my boys that they couldn't pour water on me because they would get my phone wet if they did.

The next day, I was sitting at lunch, happily eating, when one of the boys came over to me. "Heather, can I see your phone?" he asked, eyes wide. 

My heart jumped. (But not like that.)

"NO!" I shouted, clutching it closer. 

"I just want to put my number in it - " he continued.

"I know what you want!" I cried. "You just want to take away my phone so you can pour water on me! But it's not going to happen!" I pulled my iPad out and put that securely in my lap too, just for extra safety. 

In a few minutes, I was happily eating my dinner and back to normal conversation with my kids. I didn't notice Saxey inching closer to me. 

And then - "GET HER!" he shouted, scooping up my iPad and phone and running away with them. 

"No!" I screamed, and jumped to my feet. The first wave of water came crashing into my face and I ran blindly, trying to get away from the attack. 

I ran straight into a fence. Where I stood for what seemed like five minutes, sadly holding my dinner, trying to turn in any direction where I could avoid the splashes. Of course, there was no avoiding it. As it came to an end, I heard a voice from my left. 

"Oh my goodness, what are you guys doing to poor He -"

Papa G's faux-sympathetic reprimand was cut short as my unfinished potatoes and BBQ sauce exploded on his face in a glorious meeting of food and skin. 

He deserved it. He was the mastermind. I'm not sorry :)