Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Every morning we wake up to find a sleeping beauty fast asleep on our bed. These pictures were taken at around 9.45am sometime last week. The timing was immaculate because no less than five minutes later Lauren woke up from her slumber.

Enjoy the pictures below of Lauren lying comfortably, a small stream of solidified saliva from the edge of her mouth indicating a very deep sleep, and her tiny hand palm upwards moments before she woke up.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happy Lauren

Aside from her tantrums and disobedience, Lauren is essentially a happy girl - and that is what today's post is all about. The above picture was taken on a lovely Sunday lunchtime after we had dropped off Abigail after our sacrament meeting. It was stiflingly hot in the car but Lauren still managed a nice shot.

Lauren now has no problems with mummy being at work during the day. She knows that mummy is coming back home later and will oftentimes bring back an edible treat for her. The late afternoon Sun shines on our balcony making it an ideal light for good pictures.

Here we demonstrate how happy we are and in the following picture we show our 'honey bear' pose:

Grandad Horne bought this xylophone for Lauren back in September 2008, and although the stick has been snapped in half by a certain little honey bear, it is still in decent working order.

Lauren is very happy with her toys, her cartoons and her sweets and chocolate! And she's pretty joyous in front of a camera too!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Monok (with a silent 'k')

This is Monok, Lauren's favourite doll. It is pronounced with a silent 'k' although sometimes she now speaks the 'k' sound at the end of his name. We don't know where the name came from. One day she just started calling him Monok.

In fact, Monok has a long history. He came into my own life by surprise when I discovered him in one of my suitcases at the MTC in Provo, Utah, shortly after I arrived for training for my two-year mission. He was, and in effect, still is, a David Beckham doll. (In the pictures he is minus his clothes - a football kit)

He followed me around on my mission all over Malaysia and Singapore and now made his way into my daughter's life where he is well-loved and has this curious new name. He shares many activities with Lauren, for example, doing the splits:

He also comes shopping with us, to the beach, and sometimes stays at home to sleep. Lauren enjoys having pictures taken with him, as she does with all of her other dolls, teddies and toys.

Don't they both look happy? And despite the arrival of many new dolls and teddies, Monok has always, and continues to, hold a special place in her heart.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Study time

She may be just two years old but Lauren is already gearing up for a lifetime of study and learning. She talks about going to school, and she does lots of 'work' which involves drawing various things, showing me her work once she's done, for marking!

I wonder what she will grow up studying? What will be her talents? What will she love to learn? I hope we can give her every opportunity to love everything there is to learn.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CNY Fireworks

With Lauren down with a fever, the next event was terrifying for her: fireworks. She is scared stiff of the awfully loud noise from the fireworks, and we were privileged (or in Lauren's case, unfortunate) to be situated right in front of a field where we witnessed this impressive fireworks display. I used the special 'fireworks' mode on our camera and here are the images I came out with:

Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of Lauren clinging to mummy throughout the show!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lauren Week

So it's Lauren Week. This week's posts are going to be centred around the adorable little package named Lauren Sawai Horne. Today's pictures are actually from Saturday 13th February of this year, the day before CNY began. As you can see (below) Lauren is all smiles as she welcomes us to her room.

We then had a chat via skype with my family in England, but those beautiful smiles had started to disappear. Instead, she had gone all quiet and inactive as a fever burned away on her head and neck.

No, that's not a Russian ear-warmer, but rather a wet cloth on her head to help alleviate the fever. She still managed to look lovely, and (below) give us the 'peace' sign, which if you haven't already noticed, is her favourite thing to do!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kolam Renang (Swimming pool) in Indera Mahkota, Kuantan

Yes, these mysterious words translate as "swimming pool" and we took Lauren to Kuantan's pool for her first experience swimming. She courageously took on the challenge and rather enjoyed her time there. I was quite impressed with my own courage in joining her in the water (albeit knee deep!)

She walked to mummy...

...and then to Sharon

The Sun disappointingly hid its face the moment we reached the swimming pool so it did get a little chilly after 20-25 minutes in the water. We hope next time could be a bit warmer so Lauren doesn't get the shivers again!
Afterwards we had some snacks and orange juice.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sick leave...

I am extremely sorry for the recent inactivity. I have been poisoned by malicious mandarin oranges chemically enhanced for prosperous production. More posts will appear soon.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Gong Xi Fa Cai means 'Happiness and Prosperity' in Chinese, and this catchphrase is oft-repeated as an introduction when meeting friends and family during this time of year. 

This Chinese New Year (CNY), we visited four homes and experienced some degree of both happiness and prosperity. The happiness came through being together with Lauren and seeing how much she is well-loved by everyone around us. The prosperity came as Lauren received no less than 17 'Ang Pao' or 'Hong Bao' (in Mandarin) which translates as 'red envelope/packet.' The delicious food we devoured fell under both categories!
Lauren poses with some of her ang pao

CNY began at 10pm on Saturday night as a clutch of fireworks were exploded over the field behind our house two hours before the big day.

A firework cracks open and fills the sky with colours

Our first visit was to Hendry's house where I delighted in consuming my favourite food ever in Malaysia, Nasi Dagang, of which I got through three rounds. After eating I played a little basketball with Lauren, and as you can see in the picture below, she's getting rather good at it, even if she does have a head start!

Hendry's parents run a hotel directly opposite their house. It is like a traveller's lodge, a semi-detached house wonderfully converted into a nice and comfortable homestay. The celebration was held there and we rested for a while in the living room where Lauren was obviously excited to hold her treasured ang pao!

I noticed a humorous little poster on the wall near the television, in a persuasive effort to save electricity:

Yes, I enjoyed that one. After the guests were full, a small plate of fruit and vegetables with a delicious sauce was prepared by Hendry's mum, after which the Chinese love to grab a pair of chopsticks and lift the food in the air, to mix it nicely in preparation to eat.

All enjoy the traditional food-lifting activity

Later in the afternoon we journeyed to Yuki's grandmother's house for Round Two. Lauren quickly found her preferred meal on a small table where we sat.

I have to hand it to the Chinese - they know how to eat well! My absolute favourite which I look forward to all year is the pork. It comes in squares and can be cut into smaller pieces. It is moist and absolutely divine.

You might want to wipe that ball of saliva rolling down your chin!

Lauren wasn't feeling too well at this time, she had a fever and runny nose, but she perked up when she slowly became friends with two extremely and delightfully quiet dogs. She even fed them, as can be seen below:

Lauren was our joy during these two days. We would be eating our food at the table and a party of people would be just staring at her, absorbed by how cute she is and the way she spoke so well in conversation.
My favourite dialogue went like this:

Chinese woman:     "What is your name?"
Lauren:                   (silence)
Chinese woman:     "What is your name?"
Lauren                    (looking forlorn) "I'm not well."
Chinese woman:     "What's wrong with you?"
Lauren                   "I'm not sure."

We visited Raymond at night and had a few snacks there. He and Nina are going to China on Tuesday to savour CNY over there in Nina's home town of Qingdao.

The following day, Monday, we went to my student Orion's house where we enjoyed chatting with his father, Doekle (pronounced 'Derr-ke' I think!), from the Netherlands. I always enjoy talking with him and he told us all about the making of his house and showed me the extensive garden he has nourished by the banks of the river running beside their house. We also enjoyed food from the Kuantan Curry House of all places, which is located just below our apartment!


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