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2011 - Page Text Content

BC: Created by Jessica Roper

FC: Roper's | 2011

1: Let us open wide the windows of our heart's. | Thomas S. Monson

3: Woke up sick the morning of Patricks endowment, I told Mom I didn't think I was going to be able to make it. But of course she wouldn't have that. I prayed that I wouldn't throw up in the temple..let me tell ya, I came pretty close. It was a wonderful session, great aunt Gloria happened to be at the same one. She felt as though she was filling in for Grandma Taylor since they were such good friends--so cool. It was such a sweet experience to be in the temple with my family. Family Pictures: Just a few weeks prego and feeling rather nacious but trying not to act like it so week can keep it a Christmas surprise. Ezra and I were so excited about our news it was hard to keep it secret!

5: Christmas 20011

6: Patrick's Farewell

7: Patrick did such a good job- he's going to be a great missionary

8: So guess what! We're pregnant! We had our first ultrasound last night. The doctor prods around and we see our tiny babies heart beat and I'm happy because now I can see that I am 100% truly pregnant. Then the Dr. says "lets view it from another angle." And I'm thinking "no thanks that first angle was good"(ultrasounds are a bit more uncomfortable than I anticipated). Then he says "Do you see that?" and I have no idea what he's talking about. He says "there's two in there!" I become totally bewhildered and think "this man is lying to us." And next thing I know I'm hearing both of my little babies heart beats! Twins! Ezra and I look at eachother in shock and of corse I start crying. | Then he says that he can't see a membrane separating the two sacks. And that could cause cord entanglement and there's a significant risk we could lose one or both of the babies. After a few blessings, some fasting and prayer, and a trip to a specialist we found out that the babies are perfectly fine in their own little sacks. We are so thrilled! And knowing that there two little guys inside of me makes all the nausea and vomiting seem a bit more worth it. I've learned a few good lessons from this pregnancy so far number 1 being that if i want to keep my pregnancy a secret for any length of time, the one person I should not tell is Ezra! Lesson number two is Ezra and I need some serious help in the "planning department!" In other news we're off to China in the morning-----my life is feeling seriously sureal. But here we go! I need your prayers 14 hrs on a plane with morning sickness may be a trick! | Just when we thought it couldn't get any crazier!

10: Warning: This is my longest post ever. If you need to take a few snack/potty breaks while reading I will completely understand.Wow! There is really just too much to say, I'm living in China!Here's a list of some things I'm going to have to get used to: 1:Funny/yucky smells- cigarette smoke, real Chinese food, fish and other assortments of smelly things. Everywhere I go there are interesting smells. Being pregnant and having the smelling capabilities of a golden retriever has turned out to be somewhat of a curse- I have literally been praying for a stuffy nose. 2: My New Shower-, which is basically a fancy nozzle, that comes right out of my bathroom wall, no shower stalls here. I learned the hard way about our hot water supply. Luckily our second bathroom has a better supply. 3: Noises- There is no such thing as disturbing the peace in China. Honking, talking, banging, sawing, bicycle alarms are all noises that can be heard through out the day and into the night. Luckily I grew up with seven younger siblings and have been blessed with the capability to sleep through noise. 4: No dryers or ovens- we have to hang all our clothes out on our balcony to dry. And No more baking for me- okay I didn't really do much baking before so it shouldn't be too much of an adjustment. My new diet is going to consist of a lot more fruits and vegetables. 5:The Ground: The ground here in Nanning is very unpredictable you have to watch your feet when you walk even when you are inside buildings. I tripped on the way to lunch the other day with Ezra. I was holding the keys to the company condo in my hand when I fell and accidently flung them into a garden. Good news is I was able to find both the keys and I was able to catch myself before I hit the ground. 6:Hard beds: All Chinese beds are very hard, but I actually think that they are growing on me. We'll see how I feel in a few months when I have a belly out to who knows where. | 7:Staring- People constantly stare at me wherever I go. I don't think they would stare any less if I where green and my head where shaped like an upside down egg and I had two little antennas. People in the US think I'm really tall; I'm like a female Goliath here. 8: The Language barrier: Ezra and I can say hi and thank you in Chinese. So often people make the assumption that we know more Chinese, so they try to talk to us. That's when some advice from the movie Madagascar comes in handy: "Smile and wave boys, smile and wave." And that's literally what we do. So what is a girl that hates loud noises, crowds, and being the center of attention doing in China? Truth is I don't really know, but the one thing I do know that has been made very evident to me is that for some reason Heavenly Father wants me here.Truth is, if I had made it my choice, I would not be in China right now. And even though I hid it fairly well this decision to move to China has been a terrifying one for me to make. Especially when I found out I was pregnant, and not just with one but with two. This decision quickly became more than just a leap of faith, it began to feel much more like a sprawling, grasping, hurling bound from one side of the canyon to the other. Especially after I traveled for 26 hours straight with morning sickness and very little sleep, just to wake up the next morning for another plane ride and end up in a weird little airport with a bunch of luggage and take the craziest cab ride ever to end up in a place that is so utterly unfamiliar that it felt like a dream. | I have offered up more prayers in the past week than in the last year combined. But they have gone from prayers for comfort and peace to prayers of inexpressible gratitude to a Heavenly Father that has taken care of all the details and allowed me to have the wonderful experiences I have had every day since I have been here.We have been blessed so much. Blessing #1 : We were able to find a good, way too big apartment on the second floor within a 5 min walk to Ezra's work and all the shopping we could ever need to do, right next to an international kindergarten. I can see children play from my windows. Most of the China noisiness I hear now is the laughter and singing of little children. I'm going to see if they'll let me come in a couple times a week to teach English.

11: Blessing #2 : The couple we are renting the apartment from are the nicest people ever, the husband (can't remember his name at the moment) came and spent six hours making sure everything was in working order he even bought us our own water machine. It's true what they say about Chinese hospitality. Blessing #3 : There are five or six translators that work for Ag Feed in Nanning. I have had the privilege to spend some time with a few of them while we were looking for apartments. They told us that we are good people because when we arrived the sun came out and it hadn't been out for days. They are the cutest girls. Jes (the first translator that we met) says that she is my "copy" she is really funny and invites me to parties; I told here that I would come when I stop throwing up. It's funny the Chinese I've spoken to don't really seem to understand the whole pregnancy thing. I was trying to explain to Jes that I get tired very quickly and I don't feel well. She told me in not so many words that I was lazy and need to go to the gym. Lol I was thinking, "so next time I feel exhausted and like I'm about to throw up I should remember that a healthy bounce up and down on a treadmill would do me some good. Ha! So funny I just have to laugh. Cat is the other translator that I've been able to spend time with, she is my best friend, I'm just not sure if she knows that yet. She is so cute, I just love her. She explained to me that having twins in China is very good luck and everybody wants twins. She also told me that sometimes it is lonely being the only child and she wishes she had a sibling. She reminded me how much more often I need to count my blessings. Blessing #4 : The accountant at Ag Feed is the nicest guy, he's lived in China for several years. He knew that I was looking for a doctor here in Nanning so he set up a lunch date with his friend Ashley who is Chinese and from this area. Well come to find out Ashley is Mormon! She has come back to China to take care of her aging parents. She said she doesn't know why Heavenly Father wants her back in China but she thinks it is because she needs to be here to help the church. She usually lives most of the year in New Zealand and found the missionaries while she was there. When she was investigating the church she sat in the foyer because someone told her that they would suck out your soul or something silly like that. She was inspired that the missionaries would spend their own time and money, whatever the weather and preach the gospel so far from their families. She was able to read the Book of Mormon and feel the spirit and was eventually baptized. She explained to me how she knows what I'm going through being a foreigner in a strange land, and she wants nothing more than to take care of me. She said, "You are a pioneer." She is already setting Dr's appointments up for me and says that she will come with me. She is bubbly and kind and almost old enough to be my mother. Unfortunately she cannot attend church meetings with us because it is illegal to have Chinese Nationals part of our meetings. Dang. Blessing #5 : I am finally feeling better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel mostly normal during the day and only seem to have a little spat of nausea at night. And my appetite is back and in full force. The twins must have gotten sick of all the measly meals they got for the past couple months and are trying to make up for it now. You know, you really start to appreciate feeling good when you haven't for a long time. I'm ecstatic, I can finally go do some of the exploring I've been wanting to. I know I have been blessed, even though the trip here was basically torture. When I needed to get my bags off the plane or walk to the hotel or wait in line or go look at apartments I was able to have the energy and strength to do it and I know that's not a coincidence. I could name so many more wonderful blessings and experiences and can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father is involved in all the details of my life. I have been so richly blessed. I already wouldn't trade this experience for the world. | CHINA

12: The bad news: I can't read private blogs! But I'm still thinking about you! The good news: I can see some of the pictures you post. Maybe the Chinese government is filtering through them because sometimes I can see them and sometimes I can't. It's really weird. Anyway, Thank you for your wonderful and thoughtful comments. You really can't imagine what they mean to me when I'm so far away from home.Things in China are good! Here are some little blurbs about life in China! Blurb #1 The Chinese totally have a thang for colored lights. Lights line the freeways, they're on all the buildings, even the light in our living room changes three different colors- --purple, yellow, and white. And the light in our master bedroom has hello kitty on it, I'm not kidding---it's so romantic! We also have tweety bird in one of the other rooms. Lol Why you would ever want that I have no idea! Funny! (I'll post some pictures soon!) Blurb #2 The traffic here is absolutely Nutty- Nut—teee. I'm talkin New York times like a million! I took my first bus ride the other day. I could not find enough things to hold onto. There is no such thing as yielding to the pedestrian, or the bike, or anything for that matter. We were taking some sweet curves at like 50mph and when the bus driver finally used the brake it was not pressed lightly. I'm sitting there thinking "We are so gonna die" and then I look around and everybody else on the bus looks calm and completely content including Ezra (he's weird). There seem to be no traffic rules and traffic lights are kind of like suggestions. I would NEVER drive here. And I don't want to be in anything smaller than a bus on these roads. There are tons of people on motorized bikes and mopeds. My funny observance is that the Adults always wear the helmets and safety gear while the child/children riding on the back wear nothing. Hmmm. Blurb#3 We go out to eat a lot. Luckily there's a pizza hut and a kfc close, they are pretty much the only places that have forks. Everywhere else you have to use chopsticks. Chopsticks were not really something I thought about before I came here. The first time I used Chopsticks was when we were out with a bunch of people from Ezra's work. They brought out the food and I started looking around for a fork.. And then it finally dawned on me, "my fork days are over!" And of coarse we ordered noodle soup! So I grabbed those puppies and went at it. Before long noodle broth was flying everywhere and I had all the Chinese at my table laughing. Within about a minute I also had a table of Chinese businessmen across the way laughing. Finally a guy from Ezra's work had pity on me and decided to give me a few pointers. I am happy to announce that by the end of the meal I was doing quite well and I have been getting better ever since! Ezra is a natural with chopsticks. He even gets compliments from Chinese people on his chopstick abilities. Blurb#4 We were sitting waiting for our waitress and this women and her little girl walked by. I wasn't really paying much attention. Out of nowhere Ezra says "you've just been the victim of a drive by shooting." Apparently the women had her camera phone out and snuck a picture of me. Ezra caught a glimpse of the picture on her screen. Lol So funny! I guess if I saw a freak of nature in my hometown I might try to catch a photo too, can't wait til I have a "twin" pregnant belly to add the freakiness! Blurb#5 Whenever we go out parents try to make their children (studying English in school) talk to us. It's so funny. One lady practically forced her 10 year old boy to speak to us. Another lady taught her two year old to say "hello, how are you?"---so cute! Another little girl was staring at me in Wal-Mart so I said "ni hao" a few minutes later I heard her say "hello" I was surprised and said "hi" with a really funny inflection in my voice. Soon the mother and her two daughters where repeating the word "hi" over and over with my exact same inflection. It was hilarious! The same trip to Walmart an old lady walked by me with her cart . A few seconds after passing me she started to laugh and laugh. She looked back at me as she turned the corner with her hand held high above her head. Apparently my height was amusing to her. I couldn't help but laugh too! Blurb#6 I'm trying to be open minded. So when we go out to these Chinese food places I give just about everything that looks safe a try. The other day they brought out what looked like soggy lettuce. I thought "heyI'll give it a try maybe it 's covered in some magical sauce that makes it taste good." Nope- I'm here to tell you that it looked like soggy lettuce and it tasted like soggy lettuce. Ezra loves Chinese food (he is so weird!). He will try anything. Last night they gave us three boiled bird eggs the size of a robin egg with what looked like bacon around it. Ezra gobbled them right up. I was like "I don't know what kind of bird that came out of but it definitely was not a chicken! No thanks! Blurb #7 My friend Ashley can speak pretty good English but every once in a while the ideas don't completely connect. Yesterday she called me and told me that we were going to meet with the Dr. around 6pm. So I told Ezra that he was going to have to make himself available to accompany us to the appointment. | Gong Xi Fa Cai!

13: To make a long story short Ashley picks us up, takes us to her house to park her car and we start walking down the street in front of this Chinese strip mall. All of the sudden she turns into this little building. Two women wearing white robes greet us at the door, and I can see fish swimming in a little brook next to the stairs. I'm thinking, "we have had a big miscommunication here, this is some sort of Chinese spa, not a hospital." Ezra and I look at each other but just continue to follow her up the stairs. Soon we come to this little room where we are asked to take off our shoes. And it finally dawns on us. We are going to dinner (Japanese style). Soon the Doctor, her husband, and a few others show up and we all have dinner. The whole time I thought I was going to a Dr. s appointment! But turns out we were just meeting for dinner. Dinner was actually really fun. 2 English speakers: Me and Ezra. 4 Chinese: The doctor, her husband, Ashley's best friend, and Ashley our translator. I have to say, we hardly need a translator with Ezra. I am in complete awe at his ability to make friends. It's like a language barrier does not even exist. He is able to connect with these people so quickly, the way they respond to him is seriously almost magical. The doctor is a cute old lady that's been delivering babies for 34 years, she told us that our babies are going to look like angels and the Chinese women were calling Ezra handsome boy in Chinese. lol At dinner Ezra had everybody laughing and laughing. The cute little Dr. is like totally in love with him. When we showed up at our real appointment the next day and the doctor realized that Ezra had also come along she about fell out of her chair with excitement, I was like "what I am? Chop liver?" jk I was really nervous but everything was fairly normal. The Hospital(which is actually a women's center) was not like anything you see in the states, many people were waiting on every floor. Turns out this cute little Dr. is a head hauncho, she let us cut in the probably four hour long line. We felt kind of bad, the other patients were probably thinking, "hoity toity Americans." Oh well. They poked around and then took us in for and ultrasound. Their equipment is not quite as advanced as in the states but we were still able to get some pretty good ultrasound pictures. They said that the babies are healthy and they could see all the normal body parts and their little hearts beating. Ashley said that they were talking to each other. Baby one is about 1milameter bigger than baby 2. Maybe we have a boy and a girl in there, that would be cool! Best part was we didn't have to fill out any paperwork and the Dr. said that we did not need to pay a dime! Sweet! It's good to make connections. Blurb#8 Ashley took me shopping. She is all about finding the best price and since she grew up in Nanning she knows where all the best prices are. Everything here is soooo cute. I'm looking at the clothes and shoes thinking "these are so much cuter than anything I find in the states." I can actually fit in most of the clothes (right now, wink), but the shoes just taunt me. They do not come in my size-not even close and they are soooo cute and cheap and there are sooooo many of them, awwwwww!, its torture. Maybe Ashley and I will get lucky one of these days and find some in my size, she says she knows where some wholesale places are where they sell exports so maybe Ill have luck there. Ashley explained to me that in the South of China everyone is really small. When we looked up what the weather was going to be like here it said subtropical, well it feels more like sub-zero. I have been so cold, the humidity makes it stick to you! We were told it was going to be like Florida. Maybe in a few months! Anyway I didn't really bring a good warm coat and I've been freezing my toosh off, literally. So Ashley helped me find a cute coat that is soo warm. I got it for such a great deal. I've always been a bargain shopper so I'm like in heaven right now! Here is the best news of all, we found out that Ashley has immigrated to New Zealand so she is now considered a foreigner in China. Which means that she can join us for church meetings! She is thrilled that Ezra can bless the sacrament for her. Now we have four members in Nanning: Me, Ezra, Dan(Ezra's coworker), and Ashley! Woo hoo! Ashley has been such a huge blessing to us, I seriously don't know what I would do with out her. I 'm still amazed that in a city with over 6.5 million people Heavenly Father got the only 2 Mormon girls together within a week! I really don't know how we would have been able to find a doctor with out her. Ezra and I are not sure why we're getting the royal treatment, but we do know that we are very thankful that everything is falling into place so nicely. Right now is kind of crazy because Chinese New Year is just around the corner, everything shuts down for about two weeks. No one works and there are lots of parties and LOTS of fireworks! They say it sounds like a war and feet of ash and firework wrappings cover the ground! I guess we will just have to get out and try to enjoy some of the festivities! When in Rome do as the Romans, right? We are headed to Hong Kong for a few days over the holiday! I'm excited to go there, the plane ride is only and hour, whew! Ezra says it's his favorite city, we're going to hit up the sites, and hopefully be able to go to the temple.

14: THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT! | Ezra and I spent the opening of the year of the rabbit in Hong Kong! It was so fun. Above are some pictures of our adventures including my first belly picture (12 weeks)! Can you see it? Okay so it looks like a gas bubble but I'm definitely getting bigger! Can't wait until I actually look pregnant, except for that I looked up twin pregnant bellies on google images- I suggest none of you do that-can you say SCARY! WOW! Anyway Hong Kong was crazy! There were A LOT of people there to celebrate the new year. We took a gondola ride to the big Buddha, saw the symphony of lights, did some boating on the south China sea, visited Victoria peak, saw a temple at repulse bay, and went to the night markets. I told Ezra that I thought it would be the coolest thing ever to see some missionaries walking the streets of Hong Kong. And you'll never guess who we ran into at the subway station that night- yes. Two cute little missionaries from Highland Utah and St George. Um hello Highland, we graduated from the same high school! So cool! They said the work in Hong Kong is going great! Living in a foreign country has given me a whole new respect for ALL missionaries. It's not an easy thing they do, but they stick with it, rely on the Lord, and bless the lives of people throughout generations. Missionaries are awesome!We also got to go to church right across the street from the temple. Everyone in the ward spoke Cantonese, so they got us a translator. It was such an amazing experience to hear these wonderful peoples testimonies. Even though most of the ward members didn't know very much English they were eager to welcome us and make us feel at home. Hong Kong was fun, but I was very glad to get back to Nanning. In general the people here seem to be a bit more down to earth. Although it doesn't really feel like home yet I'm glad to be back in my own space where I have a few friends. Okay so I'm a Rabbit and I'm having two little rabbits this year! Rabbit 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011 Occupying the 4th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Rabbit symbolizes such character traits as creativity, compassion, and sensitivity. They like to express themselves through art. They have strong memories and like to make other people laugh. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing and prefer the company of others. They also prefer to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and lacking such bonds can lead to emotional issues.Their serene nature keeps Rabbits from becoming visibly upset. Because they're serene animals, Rabbits are easily taken advantage of. Their sensitive nature makes them shy away from aggressive or competitive situations. They're overall conservative and not interested in taking risks. Classy, sophisticated, expressive, well-mannered and stylish, those born under the Sign of the Rabbit enjoy leaning about cultural issues and learning about people from other countries. Rabbits are most comfortable being home, and their homes are always neat and organized. Home is also where Rabbits prefer to entertain. Rabbits are conservative in their decorating tastes. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog. Ezra The Pig: (Birthdays in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019) Pig symbolizes such character traits as diligence, compassion, and generosity. Pigs enjoy life and because they are entertaining, others enjoy their company. Pigs are giving souls and reap much enjoyment when they're helping others, but sometimes they give too much. Honesty is what Pigs give and it's what they expect to receive in return. Pigs seek peace and will do what is necessary to maintain it. This trait, while admirable, sometimes makes it easy for others to take advantage of Pigs. Pigs are always doing for others, helping anyway they can, but rarely will they ask others for help. This can overwhelm and stress them, but Pigs don't mind. When it comes to money, Pigs enjoy spending more than saving. They gravitate towards name brand items. Thriftiness happens only occasionally, but Pigs do know how to find great deals.

16: WARNING: This is a pregnancy post, symptoms may be described. Symptom 1: So I thought my smelling abilities had kind of died down, but while we were in Hong Kong we passed by this little food joint. It smelled so bad, like a billion times worse than the dried fish section at my local Wal-Mart. It was just plain FOUL and I started dry heaving in the middle of a crowded street. Usually I have pretty good control and can stop myself but there was absolutely no hope. I tried to hide it by shoving my face into Ezra's shoulder but it was all in vain. So much for not looking like a snobby American. Symptom 2: So I'm watching Sandlot. You know the movie with funny little baseball playing kids. I'm 5 minutes into the movie and it comes to the part where "smalls" is trying to make friends so he goes out to play with the guys. He can't throw the ball and all the boys start laughing at him and he runs away. What do I doI start crying! I fought back tears the whole movie! It's Sandlot for crying out loud—not "It's a beautiful life." Holy Cow! I wish there was a pressure point on my wrist or a button I could press to turn the emotions off. As far as hormones go most of the time I feel pretty much like my normal self. But there have been a few instances where I've lost a little bit of self control. Like when I was having problems making spaghetti a couple of Sundays ago. This explains it perfectly: "As the body creates more hormones in larger quantities to meet the demands of growing twins, Mom's mood swings may be more and more evident, making even the worse week of PMS look like a day at the park in comparison. A warning to those who work, live, and play with Moms Pregnant with Twins: Going from tears, to happy, to irrational, to hyper-speed and back again in the span of five minutes is not uncommon!" You're probably thinking "good thing she's in China." Lol- Sorry Ez! Symptom 3: Right now I am completely amazed at how much food I can eat. I've always been the girl who just wants half the sandwich. Now I eat the sandwich everything that came with it and I'm ready for the next one. It's been so weird! I often think, "Did I really just eat all of that-whoa!" There is only one cruddy part about this. Every time I wake up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom (which seems like 14 times a night) I have to eat other wise I wake up nauseous. So I literally eat ALL day long. I am beginning to miss western food terribly! Lets face it Chinese food is pretty much the weirdest food on the planet, and nothing I've had here comes even remotely close to panda express! I could live off of orange chicken, but its nowhere to be found. I feel like Po from Kung Fu Panda. Food has become a major motivation- If you tempt me with a potato or a glass of milk- You might be able to get me to do the spilts on a beam in my living room! When I visit in April I am coming back with a suitcase full of food! Symptom 4: Other than the normal pregnancy symptoms I'm just so so tired. I can tell my body is working hard to "grow" two babies. I get worn out so quickly. The other day while Ezra was at work I went to Wal-Mart and decided to find all the western food in the store. (which would probably only take up half a shelf if they put it all together.) I went isle by isle looking for "normal food." After a while I started to feel sick. I felt like I needed to sit down but I just ignored it and kept going, I really wanted to finish my quest. After a couple more isles I finally decided, "I don't feel good, I'll go check out." Being the smarty that I am I choose a short line, but the guy in front of me had the fullest cart I've seen (in China). Did I mention grocery lines are a great time for people to stare at me? It's something I don't think I'll EVER get used to-oh well. I'll just keep pretending I don't notice. I stand there feeling cruddy thinking, "I'll just tough it out and go straight home and eat and take a nap, I can do this, I can do this, I'm okay, I can do this." It wasn't long before I was thinking "oh man, I'm gonna pass out, I'm gonna pass out in Wal-Mart!" So I ditch my cart and push my way to the front of the store where there are a few benches. At this point my ears are ringing, my vision is blurring, and I can feel the color leaving my face. Luckily I make it to the bench and sit down. At this point EVERYBODY is staring at me, the green white girl. I shove a few hard candies in my mouth and put my head in my hands and think, "this is horrible." I really did need the food and things in my cart so I call Ezra and ask him what I should do. After a few minutes I get up (everyone is still staring at me) grab my cart and get back in another line. At this point I'm really wishing I knew mandarin so I could explain my situation to a Good Samaritan that would let me cut in line. As I'm standing there this little lady starts comin up like she's going to cut in front of me. At this point I had had it, and I was not going to put up with any Chinese cutting in line nonsense. So I look her straight in the eyes and shake my head. "There is no way in H..E..-double that I am going to let you get in front of me." She gets the picture and gets behind me. After a few minutes I see her making verbal contact with the guy in front of me—probably her son. This little lady was just trying to get back in line with her family.YeahSo at that point I was feeling like one big, nauseous, pregnant, American Jerk! Anyway lesson learned. Now I make sure I listen to my body- if it says eat, I eat. If it says sit down, I sit down. If it says sleep, I sleep. I can't afford to be found passed out in Wal-Mart or anywhere else. They seriously would not know what to do with me. And it would probably take like seven full-grown Chinese men to lift me. Ezra has been telling pretty much everyone we run into that I'm pregnant with twins. As soon as they hear the word "twins" they automatically look at my belly and then they get this confused look on their face like "what the heck, this guys a liar." Then I have to explain that I'm only three months along so I'm not very big yet. I kinda wish he'd stop telling everyone, but at the same time it makes me happy to know that he's so excited to be a dad. I still can't BELEIVE I'm pregnant with twins! - Ezra and I joked about it before we knew. But in my mind it was an impossibility. My brother Nathan said "I bet you're gonna have twins" and I was like "no way dude" and didn't think anything of it. Now he prides himself on the fact that he "totally called it." Okay all you Mom's or soon to be Mom's out there. I need to know if I'm normal or if I'm being totally paranoid and just need to chill. In between appointments I find myself getting worried. I think stupid things like "Are they still in there? Are their hearts still beating? Are they growing normal? What if ones way bigger that the other?" All these questions keep running through my mind, I just wish I had my own ultrasound machine so I could do check ups everyday. I'm probably a little bit worse than I would be because I'm in China and the thought of having anything go wrong while I'm here is just plain scary! But I guess as with everything else I just need to put my trust in Lord. What supposed to happen will happen. I just want to make sure I'm doing all I can. Overall I'm enjoying being pregnant especially since the nausea has begun to die down. It was really hard for Ezra to see me so sick and miserable and not be able to do anything about it. He's been very sensitive to all my pregnancy needs. He basically waits on me hand and foot. The transition to China has been made much easier because of him. He makes meals, does laundry, brings me food, does dishes, and makes sure I'm comfortable. Plus he works very hard. I am so thankful for a husband that takes such good care of me. I feel like time is flying by (most days) and now I'm onto my second trimester. That means I'm a third of the way through- holy cow! I just can't wait until I can start to feel these two little guys moving around! I also can't wait to know what they are. I have these little daydreams about the possibilities and I picture them all cuddled up next to each other and it just so fun! Boys! Girls! Both! We'll take it! | Pregnant in China

17: The Chinese Way of life is so different than anything I ever expected or even have the ability to adequately describe. The only way to truly understand even a little bit about what I mean is to see it with your own eyes. Today I am in Dahua it is a very small city (400,000). In fact, it's so small it's nearly impossible to find on any map. Ezra does a lot of traveling to this city right now for work and somehow talked me into coming with him (he's does that a lot!). It is much more third world and honestly I was nervous about what I would see. The city has garbage lining many of the streets and the stores and houses are basically little cement garages. I recently read a book about the German occupation on the Channel Islands, it talked about the destruction and bombing and how the people where working to rebuild their cities. There are many buildings here that look to me like they could have come straight out of a war scene. As we drove into the city we passed vacant building after vacant building, they look so cold and creepy. Some, I was surprised to find are not so vacant, dirty little children were standing outside of what must be their houses. Small abrupt mountains poke out of the ground all around, and fog settles around the bases. It about looks like a dragon may glide over -head. Their fields look like misshapen puzzle pieces. Farmers wearing little rice hats can be found hoeing by hand. Many of them are women. Sometimes they use water buffalo to help till, but most of the buffalo just laze about eating grass with their calves. I can't help but look into those fields and see those women toiling at their work and wonder why it's not me out there slaving away in the dirt day after day. Living in China I feel like my eyes have been opened. I am so much more keenly aware of the many blessings I've been given. I find myself asking questions like "Why am I so blessed to have been born into the Gospel? Why am I so blessed to have been born to loving parents that provided me with with a safe and secure home where I never wanted for anything? Why am I so blessed to have been born in America where life is so easy and we have so much opportunity and freedom? I have had the opportunity to be educated and to make all my own choices, many people don't enjoy these blessings, why do I? AND, I can have as many children as I want to.two at a time if I feel like it ( : All I know is that Heavenly Father expects a lot from me. Where much is given much is required. And I have been given a whole heck-of a lot. I really never noticed how easy my life was- okay so it has never been all rainbows and butterflies. I've had my share of life's tough experiences. But compared to what I've seen of life here in China "rainbows and butterflies" might not actually be a bad description. I'm beginning to realize all of the blessings I took for granted every day. Simple blessing like: Taking a long hot shower, Laying on soft, clean, green grass, Making dinner with an oven, Driving myself to the store in my own car, Going to a movie, Drinking a glass of water straight from the tap, Running around with out shoes on, Having access to a seat belt, Enjoying peace and quiet, Living close to the temple, Having all the food I could want made by myself or put in a take out bag, Clean streets, Personal Space, Milk, Central air and heat, Carpet,There are so many I could name. Everything I do in China is so much more of a process. Whether it's cooking a meal, getting a light fixed, shopping, or trying to maneuver around the city. Life here is different and everything I do here takes increased time and energy. It's easy to get homesick. Especially when your apartment floods twice in one week and your husband is traveling, (The second flood involved human feces-yuck!). But that's a story for a different day. My double dose of Pregnancy hormones has left me feeling nauseous again. Thankfully not as near as bad as it was in the beginning. But I am starting to think that my next pregnancies are going to seem like a cinch compared to this one. I'm hoping that I will be able to feel well enough to take advantage of some English teaching opportunities that have come my way. I'll be the teacher that has all the snacks and sits in her chair a lot. It's been a hard couple of weeks, at times it takes everything I have not to just jump a plane home. I knew it would be an adjustment moving to China. I just think my whole pregnancy and not feeling good has made it harder than I expected. It can be hard to be grateful when your trials are staring you straight in the face. But I try and remind my self of all the blessings I have been given and all the blessings that lie in store (in about 5 months-I'll have two little blessings :) There are people all around me that have gone through much harder things-I just need to stop being a wimp. I'll make it over this hurdle just like I have the rest. Thank goodness I have such a wonderful husband to help me. I know I am in China for a reason and I need to find "joy in the journey." Sometimes it is hard to live for today and not get caught up in what the future will bring. But I know that today is a gift and I should treat it as such. "Come what may and love it, right?" (I love how I'm giving myself a pep-talk.) Everyday is filled with little blessings that come from the special people that live here in China. I can truly say that there are many extraordinary people all around. They give up their seat on the bus, they hold doors, they work hard, they smile, and their children say hello. | Dahau

18: I found out from one of Ezra's co-workers that the last woman that came out to Nanning had a panic attack and was on a plane home within three days. So, as awful as it is to compare myself with some one I've never met. I'm feelin pretty tough. Except for. If it weren't for the gospel and all the tender mercies I've been blessed with I probably would have been in the same boat..or plane. I'm back In Dahua again this week- and feeling a little better. I'm almost positive I'm the only white girl many of these people have ever seen, it's not exactly a big tourist town. People riding by on their scooters about crash because they're craning their neck to get a look at me walking along the sidewalk----instead of looking forward like good scooterist should. With all these people staring at me sometimes I feel self conscious about the fact that my pants are unzipped to make way for my growing belly, and my humidity affected frizz-i-fied hair is sticking out in every direction (I've yet to find hair spray). Sometimes it's hard not to get envious of all the silky smooth black hair I see around me ( : Maternity clothes weren't really on the list of necessities when I came to China. Honestly at the time I left I was having a hard time thinking about anything other than my nausea. I made no new years goals or resolutions. My only goal was to survive. Now that I've made it here and am surviving, I'm realizing a little projective thinking would have been good. I am hoping that the clothes I've brought will hold me until April. I've had a chance to get out on the town in Dahua a bit more this time. I am starting to feel less nervous about all the craziness that surrounds me. However, every once in a while, I'll have a sort of out of body experience where I actually start to take in what I'm seeing and I think "holy cow, I'm in China, look around, this is soooooooooo nuts, am I still on planet Earth?!" It's crazy, it's weird, and some times it breaks my heart. There are people going through garbage cans all over the place. Most of them are little old ladies. They take the trash bag and sit on curb and go through the garbage one piece at a time. It's so sad and hard to see. I wish I could do something to help them. The more I travel in China the more I realize that I could die at any moment. Did I ever tell you about our cab driver with turrets? Every time he would have a muscle spasm, about every 10 seconds, he would either let off or push the brake or gas pedal and his head would turn back toward us. Um yeah. Ezra and I were pretty scared. We looked at each other, and silently tried to figure out what to do. Cab driver might not have been his best career choice but he was just doing the best he could. My heart really went out to him. Luckily Ezra figured out that the more we talked to him the calmer he got and his spasms died down. Ezra was so kind to him and I was proud to call him my husband. Little did I know that incident was just the beginning of even crazier traveling experiences. Every time I hop into a bus, cab, van, three legged horse, or whatever it may be, I find myself face to face with my mortality. I can proudly state that I remain calm- I figure if it's my time to go I'll go and I know where I'm going and it doesn't scare me. But I really don't think it's my time- so I have nothing to worry about. When other people in the vehicle, particularyly first timers to China, start to get nervous I tell them that it's not our time to go, and I promise them we'll be just fine. My reassurances don't really seem to help much. I still see their eyes bug out and they start looking for things to grab onto. Ezra and I are headed to Hong Kong again this weekend, we have to get new visas. I'm really thrilled—I've spent a few hours researching where all the good western restaurants are. I know it's pretty pathetic to be so excited to travel to one of the world's most happenin cities just to eat. But I can't help itI've been eating GOAT----you know the furry little farm animal--I'm not kidding either. The only "western" food in Dhua is a KFC knock off called DFC and it's horrible. I refuse to eat there. I have been getting quite hungry and I've gotten to a point where I'm willing to eat just about anything that tastes even somewhat decent. And surprisingly goat fits that category. I know I've mentioned milk in a lot of my posts- ---I'm pretty sure that stuff is addicting, and I'm pretty sure I'm an addict, and I'm pretty sure I'm having withdrawals. I never thought I'd eat goat meat, and it's really not that bad. So maybe I'd like goat milk too. I'll put that on my honey-do list for Ezra: find Jessica a goat. | PREGNANCY UPDATE: I can feel the babies move!! They're still a little small for me to tell which baby is which but there is definitely some movement going on in there. It's so Fun! I mostly feel them when I'm lying down or relaxing. The movement started out as little pokes and prods and now I feel them more and more everyday. Ezra's even been able to feel them move a few times. I haven't gotten to go to the doctor as much as hoped I would. My doctor here in China has more of a "if it ain't broke don't fix it" policy so she wont see me for another couple weeks. It's been reassuring to me to feel some movement, "we're in here mom, we're okay." I'm just DYING to know what these babies are! A couple days before our departure we met a man that had done a good deal of traveling in China. His comment was: "You're moving to China, your lives are going to be crazy." Man was he was right. Crazy experiences happen everyday without fail. Some of them I would just as soon forgetlike the giant rat that lives near our apartment, and others I wish I could share with the world.like the adorable giggly little girl we met at Sophie's. So many funny things happen to us, I wish I could share all of them. We have had experiences that have been simply priceless as far as humor is concerned. As most of you know Ezra is a wonderful storyteller (he always spices up the details). I wish that he could be the one to tell these stories, but alas, he is very busy and well I'm kind of not, so you'll just have to put up with my version until you get a chance to see us in person.

19: Story 1: CONFESSION: Ezra and I are regulars at Pizza Hut. (It's just another way I'm becoming more like my mother) ha It's not your typical pizza hut, and almost nobody actually orders pizza. In China all the meat is full of bones of every shape and size. We were quite thrilled when we found meat on the pizza hut menu that came without all the bones and now we eat there all the time. That is, when we're not in Dahua. This particular visit we were waiting for our meal and I had to make a trip to the bathroom. I usually do my best to avoid Chinese restrooms, number one reason being—they are filthy, number two reason being that they have Chinese toilets---aka the squatty potty. It is nearly impossible to find western toilets anywhere in Nanning. A squatty potty is basically a porcelain hole in the ground with a little bit of water in it and two designated areas to place the feet. To successfully use this toilet the "squatter" must have the appropriate amount of leg strength and balance. These are skills that I significantly lack- and I'm going to blame that on pregnancy. My squatty potty attempts have been relatively unsuccessful and far more stressful than a trip to the bathroom should be-especially for one pregnant with twins. It was to my happy surprise that I found a western style toilet in the Pizza hut restroom. As I entered the stall I did my typical toilet analysis. As I checked the toilet seat for possible hazards I found a unique sample. Muddy shoe prints??.....Very peculiar. It took me a few moments to connect the clues but I soon realized that a very brave Chinese woman had had her first encounter with a western toilet. Some tiny Chinese lady had mounted the toilet in a way that most of us westerners can hardly imagine let a lone even think to attempt with out the proper safety gear. She had, in fact.stood on the toilet seat. As I pictured this scene in my mind, my laughter made my prompt use of the toilet ever more essential. I quickly rushed back to my table to share my findings with Ezra. We spent the remainder of dinner coming up with the thoughts this Chinese women must have had, whilst a top the toilet seat. Here are a few: "The view from here is quite stunning" –yeah, Imagine if Ezra and I stood on the toilet seat nobody in the restroom would have any privacy! "These westerners are nuts, bad engineering" "I'm likely to fall in, why did they make the edges so round, they definitely need better foot holds on these things" "My feet are slipping, my feet are slipping" "I could really use something to hold onto" Hopefully she didn't have to go any number higher than one-because the splash might have been record breaking. Okay that's gross but that's the effect living in China is having on me. Maybe next time she'll be smart enough to bring a harness. Story 2: Culture Shock! The other day Ezra and I had just finished dinner with the "American gang." The "gang" consists of all the American employees that are working here Dahau at the moment, plus a few translators that help us actually order our food. We had just finished a lovely meal of goat, sweet potatoes, soggy lettuce, and dumplings. Ezra and I were headed down a darkened street to pick up Ezra's laundry. We were making our way a long the edge of the street when a women on a scooter came zipping around the corner. Ezra had to quickly jump out of the way to avoid getting run over by this deranged scooterist. As we continued to watch this woman it was clear to see that she was drunk. We watched her swerve all over the street. After a few moments she attempted to park and dismount. She was unsuccessful and ended up in a squatted position next to her scooter with its weight pressing toward her. Just past this pathetic scene was the laundry mat. Ezra and I entered, there were two tables of women playing some sort of Chinese block game. It must have been a pretty intense game because the women didn't take a second to even glance at us. We gave the receipt to the lady at the counter and she went into the back to find Ezra's clothes. Ezra and I were busy making faces at a few of the children hanging around the counter when the drunken scooterist entered the laundry mat. Ezra soon recognized her as the laundry mat owner. She wobbled her way into the back room and came out with Ezra's bag. We were about to leave when she started winking at Ezra. She spat out what must have been some sort of joke, started laughing, and continued to try and communicate with Ezra. We can hardly understand any Mandarin when sober Chinese speak it, so we just stood there and kind of smiled. This lady just kept talking and laughing in her drunken way. Then, out of nowhere she came around the counter, grabbed my arm, raised her arm high in the air and smacked me right on the bum. Hard. I was SHOCKED! The lady just laughed and wobbled into the back room once again. I was in a state of utter confusion and had no idea what to do. I thought, "Did that really just happen." Then all there was left to do was laugh. Ezra got a pretty good kick out of that one. I think the lady meant to smack his bottom, but in her drunken stupor she smacked mine instead. I told Ezra that it would be the last time I accompanied him to the laundry mat. He suggested that I come with him the next time and return her the favor. And you knowmaybe I will. Story 3: Standing in line- Chinese Style. Formation of an orderly line where each person retains their spot while at the same time retaining their personal space is a concept we Westerns fully embrace. We enforce the rules of the line in family settings, at work, school, shopping, etc. We all know what the rules are and do not usually respond patiently when the "rules" are broken. In China there is no such thing as a line. The Chinese do not line.they herd. If you do not move swiftly you quickly find your self at the tail end of the herd. If you leave an opening if front of you whether it be an inch or half a centimeter you will find yourself further and further away from your intended destination. I had my first real experience with the "herd" in Hong Kong. At first I stayed calm- I stayed close to Ezra and tried not to breath out of my nose. (The Chinese do not use deodorant) Soon the lady with the red coat, who we were right behind, was five rows in front of us. After about 15 minutes I started to loose it. I was really wishing I had the defensive instincts of a puffer fish. "Why does this lady keep touching me?!" "BACK OFFFFFFFFFFF! BACK OFF! BACK OFF!" "DON'T TOUCH ME!" I was about ready to lash out irrationally. I shoved my purse behind my shoulder, "Yeah, ya see that six inches my purse is sticking into your face, don't come closer than that!!"All sorts of embarrassingly mean thoughts were coming to my head. Ezra wasn't doing much better and we started coming up with plans to take care of things. We put our feet and arms together to create a wall. But nothing seemed to work. I hate to say it but by the time we made it to the front of the herd I was pushing people out of my way- I think I about knocked a few over. After that experience Ezra and I vented our thoughts to each other. At dinner that night we came up with a series of inventions to take care of the problem. Everything from metal hula-hoops, to shockers, to lazer beams, unfortunately all of our inventions were highly impractical. So I guess we are going to have to learn some patience instead.

21: H O N G K O N G

22: So here's the story- I'm finding myself with ample time to blog and ample experiences to blog about. So if it seems like my posting has become a bit obsessive. Don't judge. It's keeping me sane. My English teaching wishes haven't quite worked out. Between my "never know how I'm going to feel pregnancy" and all the traveling we've been doing it just hasn't been practical. I once mentioned that my friend Ashley is all about getting the best deals. This week I learned where the best deals in Nanning are found. Ashley took me to a HUGE "shopping center" where most everything is sold wholesale. I would rather take a big whiff of sewer (which we often do while out and about) than smell what was coming from some of the food stands in front of the entrance to this shopping center. I have no idea what they were cooking, but it is incomprehensible that anyone would ever want to eat it! As we boarded the elevator I should have known it was not going to be a five star shopping experience. But I didn't care, I was ready to shop! Never have I seen so many clothes for sale. Each floor of the building was dedicated to a different group- mens, womens, kids, etc. It would literally take weeks to get through everything. As we made our way around I began to feel like a very small mouse in a very very big maze. I stayed close to Ashley because I was terrified of getting lost, everywhere I could see, things looked the same. It was a ginormous indoor market and there was no sign of an exit. I was so overwhelmed by the sheer mass of goods that did not buy a single thing. The fact that this place seemed to have no ventilation and was hotter than haiti's, might also have played a role. Once I had shed most of my appropriate layers and was feeling like I could no longer breath, we decided it was time to leave. When we passed by the food stands once more and I really started feeling awful, like I might pass out, awful. That is when the real fun began. Rush hour in China makes rush hour about anywhere else look like a day at the park. We were going to have to find a taxi. The only problem was, it was time for the shift change. At this time of day 5-6 o'clock taxis are scarce and drivers will only take you in the direction they are already headed. Buses are out of the question because they are PACKED to the brim with people. In the US a bus is "full" when all the seats are taken. In China a bus is "full" when the driver can no longer close the door. Ashley and I began to pray. We stood on the side of the road waving our arms like maniacs. After about 20 min of this I started to feel faint so she found me a seat in a nearby shop and told me she would call to me when she found a taxi. I watched her run back and forth across one of the busiest streets I've ever seen. (Only native Chinese have the ability to do this and not get run over.) After about another 15 minutes she finally found our taxi, now the only problem was that I was on the opposite side of the road. I was going to have to cross by myself! The typical technique is to cross through one side of traffic and wait in the middle of the road til the other side has an opening. I rushed to the middle and then realized a huge bus was coming in the opposite direction, as it veered to avoid the taxi I was forced out of the middle of the road into on-coming traffic, cars were now veering to avoid me! I was not feeling very confident. Unfortunately another huge bus was right behind the first so I just stood there with nothing more than a foot between me and all the vehicles rushing by. Not Good! Behind the second bus there was a band of scooterists. I figured that the scooterists were more agile so I pretty much closed my eyes and mad a run for it. I got honked at but at least I didn't get hit. I never thought I'd be so happy sit my bottom in a dirty little taxi. Ashley told the driver where to drop her off and gave him directions to Xianxieli (my apartment complex.) After a few minutes Ashley hopped out, said goodbye, and told me to call her when I arrived at Xianxieli. As we drove NOTHING was looking familiar. There is a main drag called Minzu Da Doa that leads to our apartment, he was not on it. I started to freak out just a bit and decided to call Ezra. I told him that nothing was looking familiar and for all I knew the taxi driver could be abducting me. Ezra gave me a few self-defense ideas and told me to call him back in a few minutes. Soon my surrounding started looking familiar and I was able to calm down a bit that was until my driver said, "we're going to Xianxieli, right?" My eye's about popped out of my head. This guy knew English! I felt so dumb. "Oh-yeah, by the way, I really didn't mean all that stuff about you abducting me." Woops! | LEARNING THE ROPES

23: BON APPETIT | Above are some pictures we took at the local market around the corner. On the menu we have snake, turtle, and alligator. Mmmm! I thought these babies weren't supposed to keep me awake all night until after they are born! Lately thing one and thing two have decided to start their boxing matches at around 12 pm. It's really hard for me to sleep when I feel like I have a squid living in my belly! I think they know that we're headed to the states soon and their getting a head start on the jet lag by staying up all night. Or maybe they're just as excited as I am to eat some decent food. China would be a lovely place for someone that likes to diet, but its not so lovely for a pregnant American that has to eat a solid meal every couple of hours to even be able to function. I think I'm more excited to eat than I am to see our families! (That's a joke by the way) My neighbor in the apartment above seems to have a certain affection for pounding at precise time intervals throughout the day: morning, noon, and night. Coincidentally, his "pounding time" seems to coincide perfectly with my "napping time." GRRR! In an attempt to keep me from doing some thing irrational I try to imagine that he is building some sort of beautiful sculpture. But if he's going to keep it up much longer, it better be a sculpture akin to The David!! Every so often Ezra and I run into other foreigners. When we do, we make sure to say hello. We love to find out what the heck they're doing in China. We were in a little store scavenging for food when we ran into a cute gal from North Dakota. She and her husband are English teachers and they have a few young kids. We had a lovely little chat about where to find good vegetables and exchanged phone numbers. As we parted she explained that she had left her five-year-old daughter sitting on the front stairs and asked if we wouldn't mind checking on her as we left. When we found the adorable little five year old, I noticed that she had a couple of gold fish in plastic bag. Without thinking I said, "Are you going to eat those, or are they your pets?" As soon I saw her horrified expression I realized what I had said. Of coarse she was not going to eat those pretty little fish. What kind of monster would ask such a question? She's not even a native! My attempt to make her a friend was disastrous. She totally shut down and would not say another word to me. Usually I have a much better way with children. In defense of my behavior I have recently learned that rat is a delicacy in this area. The thought of scarfing a goldfish doesn't seem sooo outlandish after all, right?! Appropriately, Cat was the translator that informed Ezra and I of this. We asked her if she had eaten it herself. Her reply was "yes, it's delicious!" Delicious! I should think not! We explained to her that in the United States the consumption of such animals is unheard of. It wasn't the next day when I saw a fat, foot long rat hanging out on the pathway to my apartment. (Foot long only describes its body, its tail was not included in that measurement!) I never thought I'd be so scared of a stupid rodent. But it really threw me when it just sort of sat on the path and looked at me instead of scurrying away. When I made it inside I texted Cat and told her that I had a huge rat for her. She texted back, "Great! Enjoy it!" EVERYTHING is fair game in China as far as food is concerned. If can be boiled up or fried it's eaten. Our landlords Mrs. Who and Mr. Lue (no, that is not the correct spelling) graciously invited us to dinner. They took us to one of the fanciest restaurants I've ever been to in my life. I knew we were going to be in trouble when we passed a poster of a gigantic cooked Salamander garnished with lettuce on our way into our private eating area. The first thing they brought out was raw fish.The preparation of the fish went something like this: Catch it, cut it into strips, and stick it on a plate. The next fish they brought out was cooked, but it's eyeballs, scales, and bones were still fully intact. It's mouth was agape and its eye's were filled with its last plea for life, I couldn't just eat it! At this point I started to worry, Mrs. Who and Mr. Lue are pretty much the nicest people ever and I knew they would not be happy if we didn't eat anything. I prayed for something edible. Luckily the next thing they brought out was soup. We carefully slurped and continued with some vegetables. We're not sure what kind of vegetables they were but they looked something like what you might find growing next to a canal bank in Idaho. During the coarse of our meal we started talking about dogs. I said that I was surprised how many people I saw in Hong Kong eating with their dogs at their tables or even right in their laps. "So in China you can eat dog, with your dog." Mrs. Who and Mr. Lu expressed their feelings on the subject and Cat who was translating said, "they don't like dogs, because the dogs, it produces the #$*!." Ezra and I started laughing and I explained to Cat that poop is probably a better word to use. At the conclusion of dinner they brought out a drink- I got pretty excited when it looked similar to a pina colada, I just knew it had to be some sort of wonderful coconut juice. Boy was I wrong, the drink was basically warm puréed potato mixed with water. Gag. While dinner was a disappointment, the company was great. Mrs. Who and Mr. Lue are such special people. Even though there is a language barrier we have felt so much love and generosity from them. And although our apartment floods were awful experiences we know that they were probably the necessary method for us to be able to form the relationship we have with these good people. We are so grateful for their friendship. We tried to talk them into coming to the United States with us, but they think the same things about western food as we think about Chinese.

25: We are thrilled! Baby Girls! It's so good to be in the United States and finally get a real check up, both babies are doing great! One measures at 20 weeks 5 days and the other 20 weeks 1 day. I've been pretty nervous for this appointment and I can't express how happy I am that the babies are doing so well! It's definitely an answer to our prays! We are so Excited! We got to see their little faces and hands and feet-I'm in love! My grandpa Sonntag already has the names all picked out for us: Jaquelin and Jillian! There ya go.

26: It’s been a while- we’ve been pretty busy. Here’s the long and short of it. Ezra and I somehow survived the flight from Shang Hai to San Francisco. I’m learning that Plane + 14 hours + economy class + pregnant = TORTURE. The little Chinese lady in the isle seat probably hated my guts for the number of times I got up. I don’t know if it was the elevation or the fact that we were flying at 400 miles through the air, but I was having the worst cramps, I had an achy tailbone and could not get comfortable for the life of me. I think it was about half way through the flight that I decided that I could stand it no longer. This is when the pep talks from Ezra came in handy and somehow I survived the next 7 hours. But by the time we reached Salt Lake City (after 3 different plane rides) I was on the verge of a serious breakdown. I couldn’t keep the tears from my eyes. I think there was a little drop of just about every emotion in those tears. My Dad picked us up from the airport and waiting at my parent’s house was the best dinner ever! The next morning we headed up to Idaho and had wonderful time. I think I got the best welcome of my life from our little nephew Landen. It was so fun to see everyone. We made sure we brought back some chicken feet for everyone to try. ( ; Then it was back to Utah. All my siblings were on Spring break and the family was planning on heading down to Tijuana Mexico for a service trip with a few other families from the area. Ezra and I decided to join them. We just can’t seem to get enough international travel. The 14-hour drive seemed like a walk in the park compared to the plane ride. A little bit of “squirm” room can make a HUGE difference. The whole service group was to stay in a hospital/clinic, anyone who’s been to Tijuana can image what this “hospital” was like. Crazy! We were supposed to sleep on the floor on sleeping pads but ended up on hospital beds instead. It was pretty sweet! The first day we were able to attend church. Our service group sang a musical number in Sacrament meeting (in Spanish) and it was a lovely Sunday. Ezra was the only Spanish speaker in our group and he was having a great time talking to all the ward members. He was loving all the mission memories it was bringing back. The next day we were to start work at two separate orphanages, one for the older kids and one for the youngins. Ezra found out that he was related to one of the families on the trip—the Ropers. My Dad, Adam, Ezra and the Roper boys made up the roofing team. They were to build a roof for the shop where the older orphan boys could learn useful skills such as welding and carpentry. The little guy in the red decided he would spray paint his face- we called him the hulk. The rest of us went to the orphanage with the younger kids and started on a series of projects building shelves, remodeling, and painting. We spent the first day busy as can be with little orphan children running around everywhere. At the end of the day we decided to have dinner at a local taco stand. We parked all 7 of our group’s vehicles next to the stand and had an authentic Mexican meal- it was actually pretty good. We were finishing up dinner when a family from our group went to their car and found that all their belongings had been stolen including the radios we had been using to stay together as a group. Everyone went to check their cars. When I found my purse was gone a long with Ezra’s camera, I was instantly worried- not about my lost camera and wallet, but about my passport. I thought, “I just got back from China, I really don’t want to be stuck in Mexico!” My only relief was that another family had also lost their passports and at least they would be stuck with me. We were stunned, our cars were parked right next to us. The first car wasn’t 5 feet away! The thieves were nowhere to be seen and they had hardly left a mark on any of the cars. They had disabled the alarm systems and used slim jims to unlock the doors. Not your amateur criminals. On our way back to the hospital we had a long conversation about the punishment we would have inflicted if we had caught them in the act. Before we went to bed Ezra checked his jacket pocket for his own passport and to our surprise mine was in there too. I was thrilled- I was not going to be stranded! I couldn’t remember ever giving my passport to him. Tender Mercy! Many members of the group were pretty bummed and angry about the stolen goods. Including me. The next morning we had a devotional and the scriptures we happened to read were all about loving your enemies. We just had to laugh. After breakfast we loaded into the cars and started on our caravan to the orphanages. We weren’t far from the hospital when we passed a store where they were selling shelves. As we were waiting for a few men to buy and load the shelves Ezra heard (Spanish) voices on our radio. This was their conversation: “Those Gringos were so easy to rob last night, we’re going to get them again this afternoon, they’re out in front of the store right now.”

27: The thieves that had stolen our things were following us! They knew exactly where we were. We got out of the cars and spread the word to the group. We all decided to go back to the hospital where we could talk about what we were going to do. All the kids were sent into the safety of the hospital as the adults tried to come up with a course of action. No one wanted to leave all our projects undone, so we decided to go back to the orphanages and hurry and get all our projects done so we could cross the border back into California that night. The group loaded into the cars and headed off once again. Ezra was given charge of the radio so he could translate if our thieves decided to do any more talking. We were about half way to the orphanage when Ezra heard the voices again. They said: “Their all headed to the big ranch, we’re gonna dance at the big ranch, we’ll have so much money to buy beer” Once again they knew exactly where we were going and they we’re planning on robbing us. Things were getting a little bit too personal. We decided not to go to the orphanage and met at a gas station where we called the police. It wasn’t long till a bunch Mexican police officers were showing up with M-16s. It was nuts- it felt like we were in some kind of movie. We told the police about our predicament and they agreed to be our personal guards the rest of the day. With police escorts we felt much safer, they guarded our cars and the entrances to the orphanages while we worked like mad men to finish all our projects. It was so fun to get to know these special little orphans. Between the working and the projects we were able to get to know their cute little personalities. I made friends with a cutie named Brian he would walk around asking for me, “Jes—ee—ka, Jes-ee—ka. With my limited Spanish vocabulary I told him that I was pregnant: “dos bebes.ninas” His eyes went big, “dos?” “Si, Dos ninas” A mischievous smile spreads across his face, “no, ninos” After that our conversation went something like this “no, ninas” “ninos” “ninas” “ninos” “ninas” I finally gave up. But the rest of the day Brian would come over and hug my belly. So cute! If I could have I would have taken him home with me. Their living circumstances were so bad, so many kids and so few people to take care of them. It was wonderful feeling to know that we helped in some small way. Luckily we were able to finish our projects and even had some time left over to play with the kids. As we parted we sang a hymn, it was such a special experience. It was so hard to leave the kids but we were all grateful for the experience despite everything that happened. That night an undercover police escort got us to the border. Back to the good ol U S of A. I don’t know why but every time I’ve ever crossed the border whether to Canada or Mexico r it’s been a comical experience. Maybe it’s because of all the waiting you have to do you just get bored. This time Ezra made up a hilarious little monologue about metaphors and Mexicans. Thanks to the generosity of some family friends we were able to stay at a beautiful beach house. And thanks to a different family friend we were able to get free park hopper passes to California Adventure and Disneyland. I thought it was going to be a bummer for me because I can’t go on very many rides, but it ended up being really fun. The next day we spent Ezra’s 28th birthday playing at the beach! So what are we up to now? Because my pregnancy is considered high risk and we have limited medical services in Nanning, I have to stay in the states until the babies are born. Ezra has gone back to work in China but is planning on coming back sometime before these two little fur balls are born sometime in July. Until then we are on skype 3 or 4 times a day and trying to keep busy so we don’t miss each other too much. It’s pretty crazy but we’re doing our best to make it work. Time has really been flying by, only 9-10 more weeks until these babies arrive!

31: These are pictures from a little birthday party my cousin Jan and I had at my grandmas house. I'm 24 now- whoa! I feel like I’m growing exponentially at this point. I washed one of my recently purchased prego shirts and when I tried to put it on it was way too small. I complained to my Mom that I hadn’t even dried it and it had still shrunk. She tactfully explained to me that it was not the shirt that shrunk but me that grew. Ha---I was just so sure it had to be the shirts fault. Sometimes I think these baby girls are making themselves a little bit too at home, they have decide to nuzzle up into my ribs- they especially like to do it when I’m sleeping so I wake up in the night feeling like I can’t move. The sensation of having two babies in my belly has become quite the experience. They are getting so much bigger and I definitely feel the results of the lack of space- they probably do to, poor things. I had a lovely baby Shower up in Idaho this past weekend. It was so fun to see everyone, friends and family were all so generous. We got some really great gifts. Ezra and I feel so spoiled. A big thanks to every one that came, especially Shanna and Larae who put the whole thing together. These little girlies are going to be here before too long, I just can’t believe it. The shock of finding out that we are having twins has definitely not worn off, I wonder if it ever really will. As my due date draws nearer I have become an overwhelmed mix of nervous and excited. I was talking to my Dad, I told him that I wasn’t so sure about this whole twin thing because I feel like I’m in over my head. His reassuring response was “you are.” -------What I was looking for was some thing like “it’s going to be so great, or don’t worry you’ll be fine, or it’s going to be so fun.” Thanks for the pep talk Dad ( : Along with all the worry of a first time Mom I feel doubl-ey blessed. I know that these babies are such exceptional little humans. I have felt that over and over during this pregnancy. I want more than anything to be the kind of Mom that teaches her children how truly special they are and help them realize all the wonderful gifts and blessings they have been given. Ezra and I are so excited to meet our little ones (and they are going to be little---- we’ll be lucky if they’re five pounders). I CANNOT wait to have my husband back with me. I really don’t know what I would do with out skype right now. Over the past months I have gained a greater compassion for those, who for whatever reason, live without their spouse. I have also become increasingly grateful for a spouse that has an amazing ability to love life and be continually optimistic no matter what circumstances he finds himself in. He is my hero. Although life has become a tad bit crazier than I ever imagined it could be. I know that our little family is already so incredibly blessed.

33: Every time I look out at the gorgeous mountains that surround my parent’s home I get an overwhelming urge to go mountain biking. But alas, mountain biking is something that women 32 weeks pregnant are discouraged from doing, a long with downhill skiing, skydiving, jumping on the trampoline, and eating sushi. My life has become pretty tame- I confess I am totally content to sit around, the less I move the less ache. My body reminds me constantly that I am pregnant with twins. (Fingers crossed) These babies should be here by about week 36. That's only four weeks away!----------------------I just passed out. ( ; My life may be a bit boring but Ezra's daily life definitely keeps up with all the craziness China has to offer. This is a picture of Ezra with the translators/ accountants that work for Ag-Feed. From left to right we have: Cat, Ezra’s most trusty translator who I taught to tell Ezra to “settle down” and “be patient”--lol, Apple, who is due to have her first baby any day now!, Ezra, my bodacious husband, Audrey, who speaks super fast and squeaky, she is almost constantly smiling and excited, and last but not least a cute gal that doesn't speak English whose name I cannot remember----uh-she's new. I love these girls, there were a few times when Ezra was traveling and I had spent all morning throwing up and could hardly move and these girls brought me lunch and took care of me. Anyway they decided to let Ezra come along with them to visit the lotus flower gardens at Gaungxi University. After they took this picture other garden visitors started lining up to take pictures with Ezra. He says he was there for a bout a half hour taking pictures with different groups of strangers. They would even get angry and yell at each other if people not in their group tried to sneak in the picture. Finally a young girl walked over to Ezra and said, “Excuse me, I’ve never seen you before, are you a super star?” Ezra just laughed. I think he should have just told her that he is quite famous in the United States and act all offended that she didn't recognize him. He is obviously loosing his entrepreneur mind set- He totally should have started charging money for each photo. He could have hade a killing. Nobody knows who the kid is. The gardens were really awesome, the flowers are huge, like the size of your head, and apparently they only bloom once a year. Ezra really enjoyed touring the gardens. I have to admit I’m pretty proud of his photography skills. As they all left the gardens Ezra bet them lunch that none of them could make it up a big stair in one step. To his surprise Cat took a flying leap and Ezra ended up taking them all to joint they picked across the street. Ezra was a little skeptical about the food so he only ordered a coke. As they sat waiting for their food, Out of nowhere, Ezra sees a flash of black and hears a big thud on the chair next to him. Confused, he looks around and all of the sudden a table of ladies behind him start screaming bloody murder. A huge rat was climbing up a ladies leg. They screamed for the waitress and she came and scooped up the rat in her dust pan, instead of rushing out the door she headed back into the kitchen! After the rat was out of sight everyone settled down and went back to their meals including the rat-leg lady. If some one had been in the chair next to Ezra, that thing would have fallen right in their lap! No big deal right? It's just a rat! I can’t say I was disappointed to miss that one. | Are you a super star?

35: On the left is my great uncle Doug and on the right is my Grandpa Don. They are twins that came at the tail end of twelve children. My Grandpa always took great pride in being his brothers keeper and loves being a twin. My Grandma Sonntag also has a twin brother and sister (sorry no pics). These are my Grandpa Taylor's twin sisters Marilyn and Carolyn, looks like it was Halloween. These are my twin sisters Shalie (the burnette) and Karlie (the blonde). They are 17 years old, both about 6 “1” and just got their braces off. Woo Hoo! Growing up nobody would beleive us when we told them they were twins, other than their similarity in height they don’t really look alike. Karlie and Shalie do pretty much everything together. I tease them that they are going to end up living next door to eachother married to brothers. One time the family was sitting at the dinner table- The conversation evolved into a friendly argument about which sibling had it the worst. Shalie turned to our brother Nathan and said "I had 4 years of bliss before you were born." Karlie turned to Shalie, "I only had 13 minutes!" At one of my showers I repeated some wisdom that my mother had recently bestowed upon me, "Put the uglier twin in the cuter outfit." (great advice for any mother really) Without missing a beat Karlie said, "So that's why Shalie always gets the cuter clothes!" Ha Ha Even though I never in a million years thought I would have twins, I guess they run in the family! Here are some pictures from a little prego-photo shoot we did in my Grandmas back yard. I've had a lot of people tell me that they wish they had taken more pictures while they were pregnant and so far pretty much all of mine have been with my computer camera,so here are a couple for posterities sake. | On average twins come at about 36 weeks, and I'm officially 36 weeks now! We are playing the waiting game, everyone is pretty antsy for them to come. But I can guarantee there is no one more antsy than me! People have stopped telling me that I look tiny. Now when I go out they totally stare at my belly. Isn't this is Utah for crying out loud? You can't throw a rock without hitting a pregnant woman! I feel like I'm back in China! People (mostly women) talk to me like I'm about ready to pop. They ask me how far along I am and when I tell them that I'm due any day they get this satisfied look on their faces like "yeah, I thought so." Then I say, "I'm having twins." It's still fun to see peoples eyes bug out when I tell them. The other day in the grocery store a cute older lady stopped me and started asking me a bunch of questions, when I told her I was having twin girls she got all excited and said that it was her life long dream to have twin girls. I was like whoa, I'm living out someones life long dream? She continued to tell me that she was so glad she talked to me because it just made her day! She was a complete stranger and was as excited as anyone abut the news--so cute! | The Twin Story!

37: 32 Weeks!

38: "I'll see you round girl, It wont be hard, cuz you're so plumpin" | Even though I'm plenty achy I love having a baby belly!

39: I'm even getting used to people patting it like an obiedient dog. | "I like em big,I like em chunky, I like em big, I like em plumpy, I like em round with somethin somethin"

40: NO-Karlie is not pregnant! This is how she walked in the house after a trip to Costco. YES-My belly has an uncanny resemblance to a watermelon (but weighs more). YES-I wear this shirt a lot (it still fits okay) YES-I am STILL pregnant! Grrrrrrr! I went to the Dr's yesterday and all the nurses were like "I thought we weren't going to see you again." I was like "yeah, you weren't supposed to." Then the Dr said that my belly measures 45 centimeters (huge) and said that I must be miserable. I was like "yeah I'm getting there." So listen here little ones: "Over 50% of twins make their arrival by week 37--YOUR LEASE IS UP, AND THE RENT IS DUE! I know I've made you a very comfortable home for the last 8 1/2 months but I'm done! The sooner you come the less trouble you will be in when you are born. Love Mom | Twins and twins! After 32 hours of labor and 4 1/2 hours of pushing, Fae's heart rate went way up so we ended up with a c-section! Let me just say- I definitly got the WHOLE experience! We are just so happy to have two healthy beautiful baby girls. All the nurses were so surprised they didn't get sent to the nicu like most twins, we are so blessed. Ezra and I are definitely in over our heads trying to take care of two babies but we wouldn't have it any other way! | NO MORE WATERMELON PLEASE!

46: After 32 hours of labor and 4 1/2 hours of pushing, Fae's heart rate went way up so we ended up with a c-section! Let me just say- I definitly got the WHOLE experience! We are just so happy to have two healthy beautiful baby girls. All the nurses were so surprised they didn't get sent to the nicu like most twins, we are so blessed. Ezra and I are definitely in over our heads trying to take care of two babies but we wouldn't have it any other way!

54: Fae Lina Roper

58: Ila Jane Roper

60: Bath Time

65: We Love Oma And Opa

68: Our Little Family

69: Together Forever

70: s

73: Sisters

75: My Little Cup Cakes

86: McKay

88: Oh what a beautiful Ila Oh what a beautiful Fae I got a beautiful feeling everything's going my way! | ~Grandpa Taylor

91: Bear | Lake

93: girls

99: isn't it about time?

100: Grandpa and Grandma Roper come for a visit!

101: Be careful Dad!

104: Family Fun

107: It's double the giggles and double the grins, and double the trouble if you're blessed with twins. | My sister and I, you will recollect, were twins, and you know how subtle are the links which bind two souls which are so closely allied. ~Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band A good neighbor will babysit. A great neighbor will babysit twins.

110: Merry Merry Christmas! | stockings Aunt Kristina made!

115: Christmas 2011

116: 1&2

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  • By: Jessica R.
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  • Title: 2011
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  • Published: about 7 years ago