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2012 - Page Text Content

FC: Roper | Family | Yearbook | 2012

1: I come to you tonight with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we try to "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort. -Gordon B. Hinckley

2: Ila & Fae | Baby Blessing | 5 months old

6: Fae

7: Ila

8: So after a CRAZY busy week we finally started our trek to China.um.WOW! Holy Moly Wow! It all started at Salt Lake international airport where they told us that they could not find our paper tickets for the twins. So Ezra had to stay with Mister check-in man while Larae and I made our way to security with the twinsies with out him. We started the whole shoe removal process, folded the stroller, got the babies out of the car seats, took off our coats, took out our ipads and computers, etc. etc. I’m a tad flustered trying to get this all done and keep the babies happy and the security guy standing next the portal has the nerve to say “you’re stuff doesn’t push itself through.” I called him a not so nice word in my head and proceeded to push our stuff through with a baby in my arms. (My angry feelings are flooding back to me as I write this.) I watched a movie about traveling with infants online at delta.com to try and get prepared, the security people on the movie were all helpful and smiley. So not the case with Ms. Really poorly drawn on eyebrows and mister “it doesn’t push itself through.” GGRRRRR. Larae and I finally make it through and start gathering our things when they inform us that our stroller has tested positive for explosives..Awsome! Mr. Bomb squad informs us that, me, Larae, and the babies are all going to have to be patted down. At this point I’m really wishing that Ezra were with us. They call up Mrs. Short blond to give Larae and I a good patting. So we stand there with our arms sticking straight out while they do their thing. I much rather be the one being patted than be the patter.okay that sounds awkwardI’d rather just not be involved. They are EXTREMLY thorough. The safety of the United States is in good hands people! As we were standing there waiting for them to check all the rest of our belongings a young guy standing by says, some thing like “whoa, it’s quite the task traveling with kids.” I respond, “yeah, especially when you have an explosive stroller.” Luckily Mr. Bomb squad didn’t hear me say that. But I’m pretty sure Mrs. Short blond did, she just laughed. Probably not the best timing for that remark. Oh well. When every thing was finally done being tested Mr. Bomb Squad felt it his civic duty to give Larae and I a chemistry lesson on why we tested positive for explosives, his exact word were, “remember back to high school chemistry class.” (rolling eyes) Seriously? (First of all I never took chemistry.and right now is really not the best time buddy). As Larae and I head to our gate I’m wishing that I had eaten more breakfast and I tell her that there is no way we are getting on the plane without Ezra. Flight Number 1 -Salt Lake City to Seattle 3hrs: Ezra makes it just in time, we are able to take our carriers on board and the babies sleep the whole time. We arrive in Seattle and have time to eat and feed the girls. Little Friendly Chinese man keeps coming up to the babies, of coarse he has to touch the hands and the cheeks. As we wait little friendly Chinese man has his buddy take several pictures of him posing with a small stuffed seal. So funny. Flight Number 2 –Seattle to Tokyo 11hrs: Starts out pretty good. At about hour 7 things start to go down hill. Fae is being pretty content but Ila is starting to loose it. We are all getting tired but it is impossible to sleep while trying to keep babies happy. By hour ten we start to descend, Ila has a head cold and starts screaming harder than I’ve ever seen her scream. Ezra and I are helpless. Not a good Mom moment. Stressing out. We are supposed to have a two hour layover but we are late arriving in Japan and end up having to rush through security and pretty much straight onto our next plane—I’m starting to loose my cool. It’s the middle of the night back home. I have motion sickness. Flight Number3- Tokyo to Hong Kong 5 hrs: Glad that planes have barf bags. Babies sleep. Feeling sick and uncomfortable can’t sleep wondering what in the heck I was thinking. Beyond tired. Lots of coughing on the plane- glad I brought my car seat covers. Finally make it to Hong Kong gather our nine bags of luggage, catch a bus to the hotel, so glad Larae is with us. Been traveling 27 hrs. | off 2 china

9: Get cleaned up at the hotel. Go to Bed. Wake up 3 hrs later to feed hungry babies, eat a wonderful breakfast, chill out at the hotel while Ez shows Larae some sights of Hong Kong. Order room service- a banana split, instead they bring me spaghetti and meat balls- welcome to China. Flight Number 4 Hong Kong to Nanning 1 hrs: We were the only white people waiting for the flight and were receiving a number of curious looks. I have to say I started feeling quite nervous about boarding my last flight, bringing my two babies into the mainland. But the 737 was less than half full so we sat in the back by ourselves, it was great. We met up with our bags and pretty much carried our stroller through an obstacle coarse of curbs, bars, and vegetation with the girls in it over to the van where the company driver was waiting. We took a back road into town so the traffic wasn’t too crazy. Finally made it to our apartment. All in all the whole experience was a lot like giving birth—you have no idea how you survived the 32 hours of labor pains and the C-section you were supposed to be numb for, but in the end you survived. When I started rating my experience traveling to China in my top 3 worst life experiences, Ezra reminded me of all the tender mercies we were given throughout the whole trip. 1:We were able to take our car seats on every single flight except the shortest one. 2: On our 11 hr flight where Ila was screaming a cute young mom from Salt Lake City was sitting next to Fae she was taking care of her while Ezra and I tried to calm Ila down. It could have been anyone sitting next to her but it was a stranger that I felt comfortable with. (Larae- had to sit a couple rows in front of us- only one car seat per row.) 3: In Tokyo the Japanese flight attendants let us board the plane 10 minutes before anyone else. There was no place to sit in the terminal and I was not feeling well so this was huge for me. 4: We got into the VIP line in customs, it’s meant for government officials. A big blessing because if we would have been even a few minutes longer we would have missed the last bus to our hotel. 5: We did not have to change even one poopy diaper on an airplane. Twins-4 different planes, no poopy diapers= miracle. So even though I don’t recommend traveling across the pacific with two infants, we have proved that it is in fact possible. We loved having Larae with us for a few days and were able to give her the quick tour of Nanning—but first, she had to pass initiation by surviving rush hour traffic. We were sad to let her go but glad that she still seemed to like us after spending countless hours on planes, towing luggage, sleeping on a rock hard bed, and only being able to find Q-tips. ( ; The girls have been excellent sleepers since they were about 2 months old sleeping soundly for 8-9 hours a night. (It has been a gift to a mother who feeds, entertains, and cleans up after twice the babies.) I was really worried about what flipping their schedules upside down would do, but within about 4 days of being in China they were completely adjusted and are still sleeping 8-9 hours at night. Ila and Fae are rock star sleepers! I am even more grateful for this blessing now that I am lacking the help that living with my parents provided. Aka Grandma. All in all we are adjusting pretty well. We just smell a little different.

13: Nanning, China | Hong Kong airport

20: The first part of this post is an experience written by Ezra about a business dinner he had in China. Chinese Experience 1,828,462 After being here about a year, I thought I have seen it all. Well guess what! I was wrong. The soup was just an appetizer! Inside the soup if you look carefully you can see 2 lizards 1 turtle, 2 separate diced snakes, 2 types of coral, and shark stomach, not to mention several dime size things with wings that were not flying. Next we had “Nanning Dragon” which is the largest snake in south east China. Then they brought us a platter of a dark stringy meat that nobody knew what it was, (or at least they didn’t tell me) and the main course was alligator. For a foreigner to be snapping photos left and right is not the gentlest thing to be doing at the dinner table. (I did get a couple of the soup) I was so astonished at the crazy dishes that the waitresses would bring that the business men at the table asked how long I had been in China. By the expression on my face you’d think it was my first day. I was at that meeting with a coworker named Jinfeng Yuan, he also works as a translator. Also at the meeting were seven other business men. Jinfeng Yuan (who we call D.Y.) drinks, but he knows of my Mormon faith and that I don’t drink, haven’t drunk, and will never drink. As they started to fill my glass I declined and asked for Coca-Cola; they were flabbergasted and in total disbelief (not drinking with Chinese people, after having poured a glass is totally offensive, and outright senseless, especially if they are potential business partners.) Most times Dan (a coworker) and I, will not go to these types of meetings because we found out early on that if “we couldn’t drink with them, they wouldn’t do business with us”, It’s a bad deal. So here I was at a meeting/ dinner with seven very influential business men, who by the way each individually have more money than I’ll probably ever have, and I just dropped the bomb. When I said NO, I want Coca-Cola, all seven heads turned in unison to D.Y. They wanted an explanation. I didn’t have to guess what D.Y. was telling them, because I have told him exactly what to tell those who ask. “I’m sorry he does not drink, he is a Mormon Christian, and that religion teaches to stay away from anything habit forming, addictive, and just plain bad for your body. He politely asks that you respect his religion and beliefs.” All of them turned again in unison, looked at me, looked at my glass and then swiftly removed the beer and wine off the table, while the older more distinguished Chinese man yelled at the waitress, demanding Coca-Cola for everybody. I have to say it was pretty cool raising our glasses and throwing down Coca-Cola together. I love you all, Come see me in China, Ezra. | Lizard Soup Anyone?

21: Last year Ezra and I spent Chinese new year in Hong Kong. There were plenty of fireworks but they were definitely more regulated than here in Nanning. In Nanning you can shoot off fireworks anywhere anytime. This year is the year of the dragon-it’s the most celebrated year of all, we knew there would be a lot of fireworks. I was not in anyway prepared for what was to come. At about 7 pm people started lighting them off. We didn’t really want to go outside so we let the girls watch them out the apt window. It was fun. The fireworks continued the whole evening, we put the girls to bed, they were pretty good about sleeping through the noise and so were Ezra and I, but at mid night it all turned ugly. 6.5 million people lighting off 6.5 million fireworks. Half of the fireworks are noise makers- there are big ones I like to call atomic bombs, they make our apartment shake. From mid- night to 4 in the morning there was not the slightest break in the noise, it was defening.indescribeable.simply unbelievable. Atomic bomb fireworks were going off 10 at a time. We were yelling to speak. It felt like all 6.5 million fireworks were being lit off on the porch right out side our window, all night long. They were coming from every direction. The noise was assaulting. I felt like I was going to loose my mind. I desperately tried to fall back asleep, I prayed for a monsoon, but nothing came. At six am another round of fireworks started and we finally gave up the fight. We had coca cola for breakfast to try and relieve our massive headaches. I don’t know how it was possible, but the girls did amazingly well through all the noise, they stirred but never fully woke up. I was worried that they would have permanent hearing loss, but in the morning they were the same happy little campers that they always are. Phew! We are still waiting for the fireworks to end...........they wont, at least not for a while yet. Next time we’ll just have to wake up and join the party. | Chinese torture

25: Funny feet eaters

30: Whenever we leave the house we hear these words over and over, shung bo tai, shuang bao tai---Twins. People stop dead in there tracks to watch us pass. We’re not just the giant Americans anymore, we are the giant Americans-with twins. Old ladies shuffle over to our stroller, and about jump in to see the two blue eyed babies. Complete strangers ask if they can hold them. Everyone is so curious! Ila and Fae don’t seem to mind the attention and are certainly getting used to it! Our two little celebrities just had there half birthday, Spent in Dahua, China. 6 months old! Woo-Hoo! They are so fun: Ila squeaks when she wants attention, Fae grunts. Ila has a hearty little laugh (she laughs like her dad) and Fae giggles and gives us big smiles every time we talk to her. The coolest toy to have is always the one the other twin is holding. They love their bottled water baths even though they’re only an inch deep. They grab each others hair every chance they get and are constantly trying to eat one another. My favorite part of the day is when Ezra comes home, they are always so excited to see him and give him the biggest smiles. It’s also my favorite part of the day because I get a “break” when Dad gets home I only have to take care of one baby. Ha. Such is life with Twins. I do not know what I’m going to do when I can’t hold them both at the same time! My mobility is already at a low! It’s hard for me to get much of anything done. Especially when they double team me, or play the alternating nap game. Showering, teeth brushing, and eating are all luxuries.just kinding—uhwell.sort of. We are seriously lucky to have any clean clothes or a cup of noodles for dinner. (I’m wishing China had dryers and dishwashers right about now) When I really absolutely need to get something done I have to prop them both up.somewhere? That’s when I turn into the one woman broadway musical, dancing around and singing at the top of my lungs. The crazier I act the more content they stay. Sorry neighbors. My Mom (also a mother of twins) gave me some great advice. She said “you can laugh or cry, I always tried to laugh.” Well I laugh a lot, sometimes to keep from crying, sometimes at the girls, and sometimes at myself. Oh yeah, we all laugh at Ezra. Ezra and I often find ourselves saying “this is crazy, I can’t believe we have twins.” But along with all the crazy also comes twice the smiles, twice the laughs, and twice the love. ( This is Ezra) I needed to mention twice the diapers. | 6 Months

36: I’ve had some pretty wild curve balls thrown at me, especially since I met and married this guy named Ezra. I knew when I married him that he was a dreamer, I guess I didn’t expect that he’d be such a follow through-er. That is why I end up in places like Dahua, China. Recently we all took a trip to the “village” of Dahua. The police needed to see our pretty little faces in person so we could get registered in preparation to receive our residency visas. Quite honestly I am never comfortable in Dahua, I feel like I’m on the edge of the Earth, like I couldn’t be farther away from home. It might as well be a different planet. But at the same time I am mesmerizedmesmerized by the way the way people interact, the places that they live, the food they eat, the work they do to make a living. 900-year-old women carry their grandbabies on their backs People sell hunks of meaty-who-knows-what on the street corners Many men spit, smoke, have really long finger nails and hairs that grow out of their face moles (I’m talkin 2 inches)—it must be unlucky to pluck those honkers. Women wear high-heels to ride their scooters and weed their gardens Little children toddle around in the dirt in front of their family owned shops Huge loads of “whatever” are Hauled “however,” on a back, bike, or bus Groups of people sit at little tables out on the street playing games, talking, and eating Small ugly dogs scavenge the streets for scraps, so do little old men and women People squat while they wait for the bus Honking is how automobiles speak to one another And I still can’t get over these mountains, so abrupt and mysterious. I can hardly believe I’m in this place seeing what I’m seeing and doing what I’m doing. Traveling through Dahua, China is an experience I never would have ever wanted and yet, I’m grateful for it. Experiences like these ground me, they help me to focus on what is most important in my life. This is a quote by Marjorie Pay Hinckley, I absolutely love it. “I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” I admit that sometimes I get caught up wanting the “shiny sports car” kind of life. But then I remember what this life is truly about---it’s not about having the ideal, it is about “getting mud on the wheels” it’s about giving and learning and loving. We all have different circumstances, but we also each have a choice. We can choose each day to spend our time doing things that really matter. As a new Mother, occasionally I wonder if what I am doing: feeding babies, changing diapers, and singing silly songs is really that important. But I know that although I may not see the significance in the daily tasks I undertake, God does. My good works, however small they may seem to me add up to something meaningful. Here in China I may get a little bit more dirt under my fingernails than I had hoped for. But I also have an abundance of opportunities to let my light shine and bless the lives of Heavenly Fathers children that are all around me. | Dahua

37: I always feel like I’m racing against the clock when we go to Walmart, Ezra and I have learned from experience that if we dilly dally.if that stroller is not moving faster than 25 miles an hour..a crowd of curious, hand, face, and hair touching spectators will gather faster than you can say chop-sticks. We thought when we headed for a weekend trip to Hong Kong that we would get a break from all the attentionand then the maid asked to take our picture in the hotel elevator. Ha Ezra and I were definitely a sight to behold, packin our two little munchkins all over Hong Kong. They rode in a bus, taxi, mtr, and ferryboat. I also feel it fitting to include elevator, we were on the 80th floor of the hotel, and it felt like that thing was traveling at the speed of light, our ears popped on the way up! Hong Kong is always a nice get a way for us, we watch a little National Geographic (our favorite channel in Hong Kong), see a few sites, drink a little milk, and pack our suitcases full of things like red vines. Mmmm On the way home all the weekend travelers from Nanning got to watch Ezra show off all his little baby stunts as we waited for our delayed flight. It was a really full plane so we made quite a few friends. Our funnest friend was a quirky old guy from India that ended up sitting right behind us on our way “home.” I will call him Ahmed. Ila was quite interested in the whole "this is how you put on your life vest" spiel the flight attendant was performing. Ahmed was watching Ila and said, (imagine the Indian accent for me now) “she is very observant.” Ila kept Ahmed quite entertained the whole flight, he told me that she was very intelligent (which of course I already knew ; ) he said, “my son was just like her, he walked at 9 months.what is her sign?” At first I had no idea what he was talking abouther sign? Finally it dawned on me..her astrological sign! “I don’t know....she was born in August?” Between Ahmed and the cute little chinese girl that sat behind us, Ila stayed quite content. Towards the end of the flight Ahmed says, “she is greatjust great!......." “She looks like a boy.” Really?......She looks like a boy???? What does a daughters mother say to such a comment?..thanks? Oh Ahmed, I was really starting to like you, you complimented my babies intelligence, you didn’t break any personal space bubbles, and you kept her happy the entire flight. Why did you have to go and blow it like that?we could have been friends Ahmedwe could have been friends. Lol It’s funny how matter of fact people can be. One time Ezra was showing a Chinese co-worker a picture of the girls. He pointed at the picture and stated, “this one is pretty, and this one is fat.” Awww so funny. I love it!—it makes me laugh every time I think about it. The girls sign is Leo—like Leo the Lion. And it’s a good thing Leo’s like adventure. Let me paint this picture for you: tiny taxi, Ezra in the front seat eating his knees so that I can fit Ila’s car seat on my lap in the back seat, Fae is next to me in her car seat, and our double stroller is crammed next to us. Needless to say- it was a tight fit. After only about 10 min of driving we slow down and realize we are in a huge line of backed up traffic, the girls start fussing,.and I start singing show tunes in the back seat (I’m sure the taxi driver thought I was nuts). When we get to the front of the line we see that there has been an accident, the roads all blocked up, I’m thinking “oh no, we can’t get through.” And the next thing I know we are between two trees, half way on the side walk, and half way in someone’s garden. “We’re in a taxi herenot a hummer!” After a few minutes of four-wheeling "plunk!" we go off the curb back onto the road. Holy Cow! This was definitely a- close my eyes and pray- Chinese moment! (Mom, please don’t read this). | Hong Kong Revisted

43: We needed a break-----BAD. Any one who has spent a significant amount of time in China knows what I mean, the gray polluted sky, hoards of people, constant noise, and strange food (my “food” homesickness set in about a month ago) wears on ya after a while. Since we’re still in the process of getting our residency visas and had to leave anyway.we decided to go to a place where there was sure to be blue sky and sun, Phuket, Thailand! While we waited 4 hours at the Nanning airport for our delayed flight we met a cute Taiwanese lady who spoke English, When we told her that we were from Utah she said she had been to our square (temple square), she said that it was very beautiful, she also told us about the missionaries she sees in Taiwan she said “they are always smiling and riding bikes, they’re very friendly.” Another lady we met was from Nanning, but had moved to New York and was just in Nanning visiting her family. She came over to talk to us and brought a few friends with her, when one of them reached to touch Fae, she quickly pulled her hand away and said “Americans don’t like it when you touch their babies.” Ha Ha. I like her. Both of these Ladies were really concerned about us living in Nanning, and obviously thought we were crazy to be living here. I’m like “don’t worry I am already fully aware of how crazy we are.” We flew into Hong Kong stayed the night and planned to fly to Phuket the next day. While waiting for our plane to Phuket we chose a back corner to sit and relax....untilthey found us. It started with two girls asking to take our picture and ended up with 15 people snapping photos for twenty minutes. No Joke! It was so awkward especially since they only really wanted pictures of the girls. Let me just sit here and try and act normal, like this isn’t making me totally uncomfortable while all 15 of you photograph us from every angle. What I really want to know is what these people are going to do with our family photo, hang em on their wall?? It didn't help that the girls were giving them huge smiles, they were totally possing for the camera! The flight to Phuket wasn’t too bad until the apple juice remedy we used to clear up some constipation worked all too well about half way through the plane ride-(I’m talking about the girls here, not Ezra) I wondered if we had made the right choice flying to Thailand. Especially when we walked out of the airport and were ambushed by 500 taxi drivers. But I’m so glad we did! It was absolutely amazing. We got to spend some good quality time as a family just having fun—(we’re still trying to catch up with the quality time we missed while Ezra was in China). We stayed at a resort that was simply unreal. The sky was blue, the beach was beautiful, the food was amazing, beautiful flowers grew everywhere, and butterflies were fluttering all over the place. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. To top it all off we even got to see a baby elephant walking down the street. Ezra and I love Thai people, I don’t know what it is about them but they are just so warm, friendly, and genuine. In China our girls get their hands and faces touched, in Thailand they get full on kisses. We were sad to leave, we felt like we were leaving friends. One of the good things about traveling so much is that we get to meet awesome people from all over the world. This trip we made friends with Australians, Italians, Indians, and Slovakians. On the way home our flight to Nanning got canceled so we ended up having to fly into Guangzhou first. The Guangzhou airport is huge and like a million times nicer than Nanning, but they were much more strict with security. When they found all my water bottles and baby bottles the girl at the counter kept trying to tell me something—I looked at Ezra like “are you getting any of this?” and he says, “She wants you to drink it.” So I take a swig of both water bottles. (I should have started convulsing—that would have been funny!) I looked at her like “is that good?” and that’s when she lifts up the bottle of formula that’s been sitting in my bag for who knows how long—I look at Ezra like “really?” and proceed to take off the lid. I started to put it to my lips and.I couldn’t do itso I held it out to the lady like “you drink it , crazy” she sniffed it and put it down. That’s when I remembered all the baby medicine in my bag, I was like “oh man, I’m going to have to down that too!” But luckily they let it slide and finally let us go. Apparently we are one dangerous lookin bunch. Ha. While we were gone Nanning went from cold and mildly humid to hot and mega-moist. Now we are a sweaty lookin bunch! | Thailand

54: TWINFORMATION: Fae has learned to clap and it is the cutest thing ever, she likes to clap every time she wakes up. She gets so excited and it’s just adorable! Ila is crawling now—I cannot keep up with that girl she is already into everything. Fae doesn’t even army crawl—she just rolls everwhere—so funny! Our tile floors are the perfect surface for the girls to cruise around in their “cars” (as Ezra calls them). Ila is a little maniac—that girl can turn on a dime and man is she fast. Its hilarious to see her zooming around. When Ezra gets home from work they both zip on over to greet him at the door. Ila and Fae have started to fight, usually Ezra and I just let em duke it out because it is soooo funny. They squeal and scream at each other and usually end up wrestling over the coveted toy. I know we wont always think this is funny- but right now it certainly is.

55: G O O D B Y E

56: Here’s the news: We are leaving Nanning in 1 week, me for good and Ezra for about a month. Ezra will have to come back to Nanning to finish up some work projects and then.well we haven’t gotten that far yet. Ezra and I don’t really feel like China is done with us, so who knows. I’m still hoping for a tamer option in the future, I’m not gonna lie, ANYWHERE in the United States would be just about a dream come true at this point. But I’m not going to hold my breath. The first long flight I made to Nanning was really really bad, I had morning sickness and felt incoherently nauseous the entire time. When we where getting ready to come this time I kept telling everyone “there’s no way it could be worse than last time”....and..it was. I have definitely learned my lesson about saying things like that. HA Even still, we’re feeling much more confident about our 1, 5, 11, and 4 hour flights this go around. And let’s face it I am so incredibly happy to be coming to America, that I don’t care if they cry the entire way..I shouldn’t have said that. I am quite happy to be headed home....okay...really...I'm thrilled! However there are a few things I am going to missin no particular order. 1. The curiously shocked expression on the face of just about everyone we encounter 2. Being able to have any sort of conversation—anywhere because no one can understand us. (Ezra and I have fun with this.) 3. Attending "virtual" church—Our little group here in Nanning, sitting on the couch together---You should hear us sing, can you say tone deaf?! HA 4. Heather- you are seriously the best! Love the Shaw Family! 5. All the cute friends that tried so hard to speak English 6. The girls that work for AgFeed, you guys are awesome! 7. My pizza hut friends, Thank you for always taking care of us and giving us your employee discount 8. Mrs. Whu and Mr. Lu—thank you for letting us live in your apt and being so ready to lend a hand when we needed it 9. Dave and Bonnie thanks for taking Ezra to the Dr. that one time 10. Ashley-you better come visit, I would love nothing more than to give you a tour of Salt Lake City and take you to temple square and the conference center! There is not so much about this place itself I am going to miss—it’s mostly just the people, so many kind and good people. I just wish I could take them all home with me. Nanning—what a place. As hard as it has been to take care of twins living in a foreign country and as homesick as I sometimes get, I am so glad that I have been able to have this experience. It’s been a good thing for me. I am learning to appreciate my blessings more fully. I have truly been given so much: I am a member of the only true church on the face of the Earth I am sealed to my family and get to be with them forever I have purpose and meaning in my life I have knowledge that I am a child of God that he loves me and watches over me Wow! I don’t ever want these blessing to become “ordinary” to me. These are not “ordinary” blessings, they are AMAZING! Sometimes it can be just too easy to “count up the coal” in life and forget that there is always so much to be grateful for. I hope that whatever happens in my life I will always remember these most important blessings and be happy and grateful for what I have. So thank you Nanning, thanks for the laughs, thanks for the adventures, thanks for the friends. We will miss you! | Zi jin Nanning

57: It was weird to pack up and walk out the door with only a bunch of suitcases. Weird to think that I would not becoming back to this place that held so many memories, some of the best and hardest times of my life. I almost felt the need to light off a few fireworks to mark our departure. As we drove to the airport I looked out the window and I thought about how absolutely strange this place was to me and how I often thought I would only ever be happy to leave it. It was surprisingly bitter sweet. For the first time I can remember our flight out of Nanning was on time. They told us we could bring our car seats on board the plane so we figured that there must be some open seats near our assigned ones, but when we got there we realized there was no way that we were going to fit..we sat down with with the car seats on our laps (squeeze) so the rest of the passengers could board. I started getting a tad hyper "there is no room on this plane, what are we going to do with these car seats, why did they tell us we could bring the on?" finally a flight attendant comes over and says we can move forward into the business class, phew! Ezra takes Fae and moves but I'm clear over by the window with a huge backpack full of baby supply's thinking, “how am I going to do this? “ I was wedged. I gave the car seat to a helpful New Yorker, and with Ila in one arm and my back pack in the other I started making my way to my new seat. I was almost there when I felt sudden tension and Ila just about popped out of my arms. I looked back to see what we were caught on and to my horror.... I saw that Ila had a chunk of black hair in her pint-sized hand, a very uncomfortable Chinese lady happened to be connected to it. Here I was baby in one arm, backpack in the other, and the unsuspecting Chinese lady dragging on behind! She was obviously in distress. I work quickly to undo Ila’s tiger like grip and the lady was finally able to sit back down. I saw the inch square patch of hair ila had removedhalf of it was still stuck to her little fingers. The lady was clearly upset, I did my best to apologize.....Dui Bu Qi.I felt soooooo bad. After it was all over and I was finally able to sit down all I felt like doing was laughing (if you haven’t figured it out by now—humor is how I deal) but I had to hold it in because it would have been way rude. Ezra and I apologized profusely the rest of the flight. Ila seemed pleased with her self, like “look what I got Mom.” I swear that girl has A.D.D. We stayed overnight in Hong Kong to gear up for our long flights, the evening before we left we decided to try out the hotel buffet, I took first watch of the girls while Ezra went and loaded his plate. Fae started to fuss so I picked her up. I hadn't really paid much attention the enormous glass of water sitting right in front of me and before I knew it Fae had pulled it over, I was drenched in the perfect spot to look like I peed my pants. I was pretty excited to be eating some good food, but not quite that excited. Fae had some how managed to dump the entire thing on me, getting none on herself. When I stood up to assess the damage I started laughing “oh myit really looks like I just wet myself.” I flagged down some help to clean up the mess. When I ventured off to get my own food I realized I had left a wet imprint on my seat, I was also sporting napkin bits. Lovely. Note: Napkins are not an appropriate table textile for wiping Jeans. I pretended not to notice that I was dripping all over the floor and heaped my plate high. By golly I was hungry, it was going to take more than one little accident to keep me from that food. We started our long journey early the next morning. The guy that sat in front of us gave us more than a few dirty looks but other than that our flights from Hong Kong to Japan and Japan to Portland were extremely long but blessedly uneventful. When we woke Ila up in the middle of her night to put her on the plane to Salt Lake she had a major fit, she was obviously over tired, except instead of dirty looks we received “she’s such a doll” and “aren’t they precious.” Gotta love those Mormon Mama’s! It’s been SO great to be back! Man I love milk. | We maade it!

60: Jet Lag

65: When your a Mother you give up everything, and get more than everything in return. Now that I am a Mom I am ever more grateful for all that my Mom has done for me--the Mom job is not an easy one, but it is the best job in the world. Even on my hardest days, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love being a Mom and I have an amazing example to look up to--my own mother. So funny story about my Mom. She always likes her bed really clean- no dirty clothes, feet, dogs etc. allowed in or on her bed. One day she came into her room to find my brother Patrick standing near her bed, she asked him, "What were you doing in here?" Just to get her all riled up he replied, "laying in your bed in my underwear." Without missing a beat she responded,"I'm going to lay in my bed in your underwear!" (you tell him Mom) Ha Ha One of our favorite quotes from Mom: We were in the car about to pass by some road kill she says: "ooooh, somebodies..................racoon?." This is also the lady who asked for COCO-CHICKEN-NUT at a resturant in Hawai---coco-chicken-nut?? she ment coconut chicken. Although we sometimes like to make fun of her, us kids are undoubtly agreed that we have the best Mother in the whole universe. Love you Mom! | Happy Mother's Day!

69: Funny Girls

71: M M M M M M

74: When I found out my grandfather (Opa) had passed away I was riding in the car listening to church music somewhere between Roosevelt and Heber Utah. The song we were listening to was called “faithful til the end.” It was a sweet and tender moment to think of my grandfather and how he had been faithful til the end. He spent the last year and half of his life paralyzed on his left side as a result of a stroke, but managed to maintain a wonderful attitude. After putting up a good fight he had finally been allowed to go back to his first home with his Father in Heaven, reunited with his family, including his twin brother. It brought tears to my eyes to think of that sweet reunion, I am happy that he is free from all the pain and suffering he had endured for so long. I know that there is life after death and families are eternal. I will see him again. One of my favorite memories of Opa is sitting next to him in church, I was young and we were singing “there is sunshine in my soul today” I remember him belting out those words as if the sunshine he felt in his own soul was coming straight through his voice. Every time I hear that song I think of him and smile. He lived his life as if there truly was sunshine in his soul, through his, humor, friendship, service, and love, he spread that sunshine to all he came in contact with. He has added much sunshine to my life, for that I will always be grateful. I love you Opa. | Opa

78: Ezra was privilaged with amazing opportunity to ride in the giant Pig balloon (I know fitting, right?) at the Provo freedom festival. His friend Bronson Kelly owns the pig balloon, and is an excellent air balloon pilot. I love all the colorful balloons, the pig has got to be the coolest though!

79: Ezra put some serious miles on Grandpa Roper's motorized wheelchair at the Roper reunion. Not only did the girls get a ride on the wheelchair they got to sleep in a tent for the first time. My apologies to any one who put their tent next to ours!

84: Gibby Reunion

87: Featherville, Idaho

88: ya gotta love costco!

90: Ila Jane Roper | 1 year

91: Fae Lina Roper | 1 year

99: Happy Birthday

100: Saint George

112: We got some pretty funny looks!

115: It’s just me, blogging about Walmart once again. Ha. Anyone with kids knows what a process it is just to leave the house. It’s kind of like packing for a long trip, several varieties of snacks, changes of clothes, binki’s and bottles, toys, sanitizing equipment, and of course a first aid kit. Okay, I don’t really have one of those, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Right? That’s just part of the process that must happen before we leave the house. I mean there are still diapers to change, faces to wipe, hair to be combed, and inevitable last minute disaster “look what I found in the garbage can mommy” type stuff. I personally believe.that every shopping cart in America should be patterned after Costco’s double kid cart, it’s an inspiration. My girls can keep each other entertained the whole shopping trip. (yes, I know, the whole kissing thing will have to end at some point). If I’ve got to take the girls with me shopping I usually just wait until I have reinforcements. After all, I never know what those two little furballs are going to have up their sleeves. But today I was working on a project that could not be finished without a trip to Wally-World. When I go to Walmart I have to take my double stroller and there really isn’t much room underneath to store my loot, it can be a pain in the royal highness. The girls actually ended up being pretty good today, I checked out with out a hiccup and walked to my car feeling rather victorious. I got Ila all strapped in and started putting Fae in the car, that’s when I realized she was missing a shoe. Uuuug. So I put them both back into the stroller and started retracing our steps. I practically had to lie on the floor to see under the shelves. I’m sure people were wondering what the heck I was doing, “That lady’s lost a lot more than her marbles!” | The girls sang happy little songs through the rest of the store, it was almost like they had planned the whole thing. I was about to give up looking when I saw it.. sitting perfectly upright waiting for me, gleaming in the fluoresent light. Hallelujah! When I finally got out of the store all the high school kids where headed to Walmart for lunch from across the street. A group of girls started gathering around the twins ooh-in and aww-in like is natural for girls when they see babies. I finally made my way through the herd, and as I’m walking away I hear this conversation. “I'm totally gonna have twins” “yeah, me too, a boy and a girl” Man, it really doesn’t seem that long ago and I was one of them, making what I thought would be a perfect plan for my future. I always seem to forget that I’m living the dream life. ( ; Ha. p.s. The project I was working on was my newest attempt to get my girls to eat their vegetables, they got sick of sweet pea mac and cheese and lettuce waffles. So I took advantage of their new fascination with drinking through straws and made vegetable- juice with fresh produce from my mother’s garden. Here’s the recipe: The quantities are up to you Swiss Chard Green Pepper Broccoli Beets Pears and Pineapple juice I just pureed it all up, skins and all I tried some and.it’s vile----But apparently I made it sweet enough, cuz the girls slurp it right up! | Don't Worry, We found it!

118: Okay-- My girls are totally girly girls--I swear it came programed. Ila LOVES jewelery, here she is at Oma and Opa's good ol jewelery store. She could not get enough. Fae is more of a clothes and shoes girl- if she sees her shoes she insists on having them on her feet--she also loves to pull clothes out of her drawer and bring them to me to put them on her. New favorite phrase: "ooooh, pret-eeee!"

119: Discipline has officially started- and I totally hate it. I know I need to do it, after all I don't want to end up with TWO screaming, tantrum throwing, bullies. It's a pain, but like my Dad always says "Hard work is easy work done at the wrong time." Now is the time! I've got to get this discipline thing down quick or I'm going to be in double the trouble! I'm trying to mold my little one year olds into the patient, polite, respectful little angels that I know might exist.....Ha. It's gonna take a while, a long while. Right now we are working on being "soft." When they hit each other I make them say sorry and give each other hugs. We are also working on not throwing things in church, not playing in the potted plants, not rubbing food in our hair, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I feel like I must have the most active children on the planet. I need a nap!----Who's with me?!

120: Punkin Party!

124: The girls are learning so much and often suprise me with new phrases they have learned! Sometimes they fight, but mostly they are just sweet and cute with each other, giggling, jabbering, and giving hugs! Love to read books and pretend to read them all by themselves some of our favorites: Old Mac Donald: E I E I O Yaba daba doo! Animals Elmo

125: Fae is always running around yelling "Ila!" She is definitely the big sister. Loves animals! | She is a bit more independent, and often times more of a risk taker. Loves to wave hello and goodbye and blow kisses. | Ila is still my little snuggler, loves to gives hugs and kisses and be held. Tends to get in trouble more often! When she knows she is in trouble she will try to hurry and "be soft" or "shh, shh, shh" to get out of it. Love animals!

127: H A L L O W E E N | The girls loved trick-or-treating! | Everyone got a good laugh!

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  • By: Jessica R.
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  • Title: 2012
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  • Published: over 5 years ago