Very well, thank you.

Hello hello, first of all!

I can't believe about 15 weeks have passed since the last we met here. But then again, I also can't believe that I'm not 15 kilos lighter after carrying what seemed like a baby elephant few hours a day, 7 days a week for the past 4 months; so let's just get a move on, shall we?

Where should I start, really?

The last you know, I had a baby. And now I have something new for you; he no longer just sleeps and eats.

Erm.. surprise surprise?

Yes, baby had started to talk to us, play with us and most importantly, he's a master at manipulating us, the nerve! He's lucky he's got beautiful cheeks..

He's grown so much in such a short time that I'm afraid soon he will no longer be my little baby. But on the other hand, I can't wait till he feeds and cleans himself ;)

Perhaps when that happens, I would finally be more alive in this blogsphere! Amen to that!

Here's him with chunky thighs and my favourite round little toes. I love his bum although I must admit his farts are deadly with a capital D.

Goodbye, my loves. We will meet again when my next augmented few hours present themselves.


The bunny named Benjamin..

Timing of my contractions..

Was the wait worth it? I hear you ask.

Was the 9-month-long-food-abstinence worth it? Again, you asked.

Was the ripping pain all worth it? Too many of you asked.

Baby Benjamin, born 18th February 2011

Well worth it, I would gladly say ;)

After Benjamin arrived, it's hard to remember back on days of my pregnancy, except I had a big ball for tummy and that it kicked. And I was huge. And clumsy. And wanted cakes all the time.

Now, our world has decidedly changed. Mornings are love affairs when he smiles and yawns and demands food. Noons are often calm and peaceful with occasional coos from the baby in his cot.

Come night time or dawn, we pray he sleeps through a good 4 hours. As all babies should.

So far, the baby has been amazing. And I can read his signs better now; I just can't stop smelling and kissing him, that precious little darling..

I also should rest from all this talk about my newborn. For now, that is.

3 more weeks till after my confinement. Thanks for all your kind wishes.


I craved for it

A calm change has taken over the city. It's visibly brighter for a longer period day by day. And I love it.

Every morning, when I lift the checked curtains to take a peek at the temperature, my heart skipped a beat. Could it be? It must be!

I have survived my first winter in Oslo. Gone were the constant dip beneath zero degree. Of course, we do have days when an unexpected -7deg fell over the city, but instead of pouting like a grouchy old grandma, I kind of welcomed the cool.

Along with it, I also welcome the arrival of fresh pears in our local supermarket.

And because pregnant ladies can never have enough cravings, I baked a cake. A pear cake, to be precise.

It was a deliciously moist cake with sweet chunks of pear quarters sunk into its depths, spreading an aroma so luxurious, you would have thought it's fall all over again.

For that reason alone, I should tell you I've enjoyed my past weekend tremendously.

Well actually, no, not only that, I've also sorted our baby's closet. We now have tiny piles of 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, winter, 'Norway' summer and 'Asia' summer clothings neatly arranged for the near future. One can really get a kick out of organizing these miniature things, I'm telling you.

Oh, I should also update you guys that I'm officially as huge as a whale beached on the shore. Apart from getting all maternal seeing and touching baby's stuff, I really just want to plop on the couch and have Baby Hubz be my slave.

I politely asked and he declined the good offer, that evil love of my life.

But that's ok. I can always count on my backup feel-good plan: a hot cup of coffee and a slice or two of baked heaven.

There, feeling all better already ;)


A full round..

Christmas was gone all too fast, especially after having looked forward to it for months in this snow city. But I can say one thing; Christmas this year was peaceful, joyful and just plain wonderful.

My first white Christmas.. of course, started a month or so prior to December. I can't help it when malls are decked in lights-curtain so beautiful, I literally stopped breathing for a while. Christmas trees were also up, decorated with the traditional candied apples or gingerbread cookies, as well as modern fixtures of shimmering lights and cards bearing warm wishes. Come 1st of December, there's no denying that Christmas season was indeed upon us. I mean, you can smell Christmas in the air!

In our household, of course, that would mean smelling freshly baked goodies and scented candles, but I digress. Christmas to me, smelled like wood burning in the fireplace; a rich, smoky drift mixed with the sweetness of hot cocoa (muffins optional). And, it is extremely soothing for some reason I have yet to fathom.

What I do know though, was that I couldn't stop baking. It could be the hormones working up a level during this last stage of pregnancy or it could be the snow outside my window, I don't know. But I'm loving my kitchen/ oven down to my baby's bones.

Plum Tart, Mandarin Chunky Chocolate Muffins, Brioche Pudding, and I suspect, some Upside-Down Caramel Apple Cakes coming soon.. oh yes, I can smell it already..

A slice of brioche heaven soaked in lemony custard

I think my Hubz almost moaned as this baby melted in his mouth. That's a good sign.

So, there we go, before I can bake too much, Christmas was gone. And in a little less than 12 hours, so will the year 2010. We have come a full round back to the beginning of another year.

Should I make a list of resolutions just like all the other years before? Not this time, I think. Not this time..

Perhaps I've mellowed beyond recognition. But as of now, I'm perfectly happy being a homemaker, working on my writings, sipping my coffee and overworking my oven. Come 2011, and I believe that I will be as equally happy waking up during god-forsaken hours to feed our baby boy. That, plus living in a house that smells like poop all year round. But we'll get to those cranky details next year, when we've successfully conquered yet another round. 

For now, Hubz, myself and baby boy will leave you all with the best and warmest greetings. Till next year, everybody stay safe. xo



.. for the ever present love and warmth surrounding me.

.. for all the morning kisses I can get.

.. for eggs, ham and cheese in the fridge. And a kettle that works just fine.

.. for quiet afternoons spent in the unfurnished baby's room.

.. for slow music, whistling wind and the gentle drift of snowflakes.

.. for lights that brighten the room when sun sets at 4pm.

.. for a bed that cradles my sore feet and backache every night.

.. for the slow but sure progress in making our new house a home.

.. for family and friends who kept in touch through the distance and time zones.

.. for acceptance into a new family.

.. for the man who comes back to me everyday, still full of love and kisses.

.. for the little man inside, kicking and rolling, and letting me know he's safe.

.. for all the wonderful things we see, hear and feel.

.. for good health, great food and gorgeous laughter.

.. for a day like Thanksgiving where we can count our blessings. 


The little gems..

"How long can we stay for? As long as you want to, baby.."

I woke up remembering that part of my dream. I wasn't quite sure of the sequence or chain of events, but I do know it was a pretty cosy feeling. Like I had the power to decide.. it was pretty nice :)

Tomorrow, or rather today (their local time), my best friends since forever celebrate their 26th birthday. They are identical twins, yet so unidentical they sometimes confuse (and amuse) me. 

Thinking back on how we met, 19 years ago if you must know; how things have changed. We have all grown and are now at a place where we've never thought we would be. I, for one, still can't believe that I've migrated too far away from home, married to the sweetest hubz, anticipating our first child in this cold winter, and best of all; I still have my twins with me.. well, figuratively speaking.

Am I a happy Missy? Damn sure I am.

While I'm oceans away from them and have obviously missed out a big part of their lives, I can honestly say "I think they are happy too.." and that's what keeps the Missy satisfied. I don't ask for much anymore. The gem is in knowing my loved ones are safe and happy.

So, Happy Birthday, my old chums! I'm singing a little train-jingle here, just for old time's sake ;) I would have baked a little something, but that's just gonna make me fat and cranky so I ditched the idea. I'm sure you each would get your sugar fixes anyway.

Love you both. Kisses.


Post 101010

It was the much awaited 10.10.10 yesterday, a day deliberately selected for its auspiciousness for some.

A few friends got engaged that day, some got married, a beloved friend in KL purchased her engagement ring and another celebrated her birthday with a newborn. T'was a very happy day indeed.

For me, the day held no special meaning nor did it asked to be celebrated in fireworks and candlelights, yet it was nothing short of perfect.

Hubz and I started the day as any old couple in Norway would on a Sunday. I made cheese omelette on toasts, side of sausages for him and sliced avocado for me. We then sipped coffee and put our legs up on stools. It was sunny despite the conspicuous 8deg shown on our temperature reader by the window. Perfect.

Also, we had company. The little boy inside me woke up and came to play. He used his fists and legs and bum. Perfect.

We couldn't spend everyday like that, but then again, we don't need to. An occasional Sunday as perfect as that, however fleeting, was a blessing. And I didn't even need a muffin, how's that!


Sardine, not tuna.

So, I've successfully passed the first trimester and gratefully bid adieu to morning sickness. I'm now fully and acutely aware of what I put into and onto my body, so much so that I'm a mild case of paranoia in this household.

And just as I was about to finally chill out with a cup of honeyed lemon tea this slow Sunday morning, I suddenly realized something. What, it's September already?! Well, almost. How? When? WHY?!

Not only do I battle against fears of baby's malnutrition, bad chemistry around me, severe hormonal breakouts and 1001 other negative thoughts during pregnancy, I now lose track of time so badly that months just whooshed by without me even noticing. What if I wake up one day and it's time to deliver? Does things like that ever happen?

On a totally different note, I need advice from all resources. Preferably Mums or Mums-to-be who shared my troubles.

One. I desperately want a body pillow. Has anyone tried? How good or otherwise are these pillows? 

I don't need one yet, but I want. Look how comfortable this woman is. I want a good night's sleep that doesn't end in abrupt wakening due to back pain or nightmare. I want to be wrapped in a cocoon of relaxation and swim in dreams of happy thoughts. And if I can want more, I'd want Hubz to deliver pastries and tea on a silver tray while I lay on my body pillow for the next 6 months.. but it could be a tad too much to ask for.

Two. Is it ever a "too early" to start being concerned about your expanding belly?

I'm only into week 14, and the bump is barely there, but I'm experiencing dryness and itch around the mid-section. It could be due to the changing weather; we're gingerly moving into snowfall come late October and I don't mean this in a loving way..

I've started a religious tummy-rub routine with oil and lotion, but it's also my concern that ingredients in the products will penetrate into my bloodstream and cross the placenta, so all-natural is a must.

I've heard of Burt's Bees' Mama Bee Belly Butter and I'm wondering if it works as well in Nordic climate as it does in Australia. Not that I can get my greedy hands on it, but if it's that good, I should really start ordering.

Three. Well, I'm craving for authentic (even quarter authentic will do) Malaysian, Indonesian and Indian food. And I've searched high and low around Oslo to no avail.

Just this morning, I was swallowing a plate of leftover pasta while searching for an easy Mamak Mee Goreng recipe. Needless to say, my stomach growled louder in protest with each bite.

This wasn't so much a question that seeks an answer, merely a resignation to fate on my part.

Oh! By the way, I've found my ultimate pregnancy crave. It's pickled jalapeños - green chili peppers. How weird. But just so you know, I don't munch on them all day long; I just crave for it to be on everything that I eat.

Anyway, SO.. September, huh. I have mixed feelings about you but that does not necessarily means I'm scared of you. I'll take you on anytime. In fact, I wouldn't mind that much if you whoosh over quicker just so I can see my baby squashed inside my belly in October! Woots!


July in a glance..

It is officially the last day of July, and my, has it been a roller coaster of a July!

Believe me. I had totally wanted to creep back in somewhere in the middle of the month to update on what's happening up here in the Northern side.. but as always, something else got in the way. Like, you know, birthdays, possible food poisoning and a baby..

Before anything else, happy birthday to me!

Turning 26 is not that big a deal if you ask me. It's not young enough for me to ask for a birthday party at the McDonalds where I can invite thousands of other children, most of whom would be friends of friends of neighbours. Neither is it old enough to organize a Hollywood themed cocktail function just to celebrate a milestone. Nope, it's just that age where it's "somewhere in between"...

Yet somehow, this "somewhere in between" age just got that little bit more momentous for me, for us. 

You see.. earlier this month, I fell sick. I thought I was food-poisoned, having retched into the bowl almost everyday for two weeks. Thus began my meticulous listing of all foods consumed two weeks prior to that. Which also brought me to another discovery, regarding.. *ahem.. my menstrual cycle. My late period, to be precise.

Several home tests and nauseous mornings later, it's confirmed. I'm pregnant.

2 months and counting.

We're extremely scared and happy and excited :)

We had only just shared this little big piece of information with family and friends a week before, just so you know Missy didn't leave you out. And I'm blessed with the support and love from family and friends, both near and oceans apart.

I assume August would be no less hectic and exciting, with doctors appointment aplenty and knitting projects (this, I'm kidding).. but when time slows down at days, I'll be back here again. Just because.

Till then, I'll be nursing my growing uterus, people! xo


Rainy days in Oslo

I remember back in Melbourne, the only thing that I wish to do on a rainy day is to bake. You know, when clouds hung over the sky like a giant scoop of whipped cream, showering us on Earth with sweet little dew drops, there's nothing more comforting than warming up the kitchen and having aroma of butter and milk waft through your home (and/or neighbourhood..).

Pecan pie would be nice. And so are my Rainy Day Coffee Cakes if you still remember..

Our move to a different continent has surely changed a lot of our habits, but I'm still very shocked (and not pleasantly so..) that even my baking escapades have to take a halt. Not because I can't, but because I won't. It doesn't feel right. And I know this because I don't wake up in the morning thinking, "Oh, I'm gonna make cherry brownies today!" or.. or.. "The best way to whip egg whites is..."

Yea, that.

Well, I'm not sad. I really ain't. I have a different routine now. It's not the same as it used to be, but it's slowly becoming a part of me.. and I guess Missy adapts good.

Sure, someday, I'd love to find back the passion. Find back my can't-do-without in the baking world. When that day comes.. when I fire up the oven again, I'll be sure to let you smell it :)


I want waffles

Some days, you wake up feeling frisky. Other days, you wish you're six thousand miles away from where you are. Well today, I woke up with a deep craving for waffles. Golden crusted, syrup drenched waffles.

But there's no flour, no yeast, no milk, no syrup, and of course, no waffle iron in this home.. so needless to say, no waffles for Missy today.


Then I turned on my side while lying on the bed, and I smiled.

Because when I think of waffles, I think of butter. And when I think of butter, I think of you..

Note: This was gifted to me before I left Melbourne, and yesterday, I finally dug it out. I said dug, because it's buried somewhere within 12 sealed big boxes in a cold, dark storage space. But I don't care, and I have hubz to thank for indulging me with an afternoon of sweaty labour work.

I know I promised it would be the first thing on my mantel. I'm sorry, it was the third. 

And I miss you, fancy face.


Let's go to the gym!

After 2 long years of gym-hiatus, plus 4 months of putting off the idea of shedding clothes in goosebumps-inducing weather, my two sisters in law have shoved me right into the work-out wagon. I finally went to the gym.

Yesterday was my first gym experience in Oslo. Excitedly, I packed my sports bag, well, it's really my husband's but we don't need that kind of categorization here; put on a thousand layers of sweaters and went first on a 10mins bus ride to the city before jumping on the Bergkrystallen line for 20mins.. and got off the wrong station.

I probably don't need to tell you this, but I'm still not all that well-trained with roads/direction/everything else, you see.

So, you might want to add to all those above, a 15mins walk from the wrong station to where the gym was rightfully built. That's my workout for the week, I hear some say? Damn right it is.

Now here's something about motivation you didn't know..

Despite starting off on the wrong foot, I was still pretty determined to explore (mainly because I've heard good stuff. You know, good stuff like SPA and massage chairs..) and sweat it out. I did good. But you wouldn't want to hear about my time on the treadmill, nor the affair with the dumbbells, would you? No, I suppose not. And I swear that was not the purpose of this post either.

The real deal, I can tell you, is what happened after the workout. I decided to "relax" in the steam room. So, there I was, in my.. steam room-sensible attire sans towel (please don't ask why) and sat down in one steamy corner. I was not enjoying it to say the least because 1) I had trouble breathing because of the (too) heavy clouds of hot air. 2) It was so hot, I might as well be a frozen dumpling on a steamer, without the skin. 3) A guy walked in with two bananas.

Yes, people. I constantly forget that I'm on Scandinavian grounds and am therefore exposed to all unisex facilities with possible encounter of nakedness. I should have guessed when I was greeted by a pair of sky-high nipples on my way to the locker. But still, my tiny beating heart was not prepared.

It must have been the longest and most awkwardly silent minute and a half of my life. Yes, I kept track. And yes, he ate one of said bananas. Oh, the nerve!

I scrambled out of the steam room and totally whined as I passed the jacuzzi which was situated right outside the steam room. And what's more, right next to the pool is an entrance.. one that leads you straight into the ladies' shower room where, you're right again.. naked ladies shower. Together, in one open space. In all fairness, I could not deny the pleasure of seeing a couple of fresh and young bodies, but I wasn't prepared for that too.

The blessing, however, is to find a hidden sauna right at the back of ladies' shower area. I know then, that I can finally have some me-time, female-only-time. I kicked back and relaxed. And that's the best 10mins I've felt in a long, long time before an elderly woman (I'm guessing 62 years old) came to join me in all her naked, drooping glory.

So I say "maybe" to the next gym invite. Who's with me?


3 years of man and wife

Like all self-explanatory titles, mine already broke any suspense you might have had prior to reading on. Happy 3rd Wedding Anniversary to me and hubz! 

In case you were wondering why does our anniversary seem to come so fast each year.. it's because we have two; first was the cozy garden wedding we had in Melbourne June '07 and the second was a bigger scale traditional Chinese wedding ceremony and reception in Malaysia December '08 (which I have yet to update by the way. I wonder if I ever will..).

*Fun facts: We do still celebrate our "officially being a couple" anniversary on the 8th of every month. Nothing huge; just a kiss and an "I love you" and a disgustingly sweet handwritten note.

So, this year's celebration was a little different, I must admit. Newly settled in a new (and expensive!) country threw our usual wine-and-dine-at-a-local-restaurant plan right out the frosty window. Also, from my previous post, you'd already know that it was more of a celebration of gratitude and love more than anything else, so pompous gestures were not needed.

In fact, it was quite a fresh start for me. I decided to do something that in my book of Things I Can Do, ranked a deadly HARD. I decided to make the well-known Malaysian dish, nasi lemak. Not just that! I went on to plan the whole shebang - sambal ikan bilis and curry chicken. From scratch. It wouldn't have been such a feat had I not live in a place where I don't know where to find a lot of herbs and spices. As usual, there's a lot of substitution work going on. And well, what do you know, these babies came out too damn fine.

Now who's a proud Mamma?

Remember this post from wayyy back? I didn't exactly fulfill any of the promises but I'm contented to know that I'm a step closer and they are in fact possible to achieve :) Thanks for being patient. I believe I'll get there someday. 

For now, I'll leave you with our anniversary-orchids on the sill. Keep on loving..


In hope, you find strength..

It's not everyday that you feel the Strength but I think it is a crucial element in living life to the fullest. And today.. I feel especially strong about this trait.

You see, I have an aunt who I dearly hold close to my heart. She must be near 70 years old, with her back straight as the wall, not a hunch in sight. She lives well, is a devoted vegetarian, loves life, tells great stories, and feisty in her protective nature as a mother to her cubs, literally. She's the epitome of Strength in women of the older (and even younger) generations.

There's only one thing; her cancer cells have spread uncontrollably.

Doc said that if they don't do something soon, she may have only 6 - 7 months to live. Ironically, he also added there's nothing more that they can do..

I'm currently 6,066 miles away from where home is, and I cannot even begin to tell you how useless I feel. I assume my family back home feels ten times worse.

But life has its special way to convince you to keep believing. One phone call, a single text message, a one-line email.. all bringing this one thing we need; Hope. When the whole family comes together, spreading love and hope, there's really nowhere else you can turn to except believing in your strength. Instead of wallowing in sadness and tears, everyone stood up firmly as though declaring trusts in their own strength. The strength to believe, and the strength to bring hope to my aunt.

It's definitely not easy; but once you find hope, everything will just come naturally.

I might as well add that today is coincidentally hubz and my third wedding anniversary. And oh yes, we will celebrate. We celebrate not only because it's a happy occasion, but also to give thanks that we still have each other to love and to believe in.

I had initially wanted to write a post about love to mark the date, but now I think this is an even better post to show people love.


Smoked ham

No, I did not discover a new recipe to impress guests from Provence.

And yes, I admit that I burnt something in the microwave yesterday, in which case means, the smoked ham was me. Guilty as charged.

Well, I could have kept quiet, you know. Pretend it never happened and jump back on to fool you guys into thinking I absolutely was triumphant in my third soufflé attempt. Or, or, grace this spot with details of my date at the outdoor movie theatre at Ekeberg just so I can skip this burning issue altogether.

But I wouldn't. Well... couldn't, considering the stench that came from it may have traveled to you in a matter of seconds. Also, judging from the interior of the microwave that has turned a smoky yellow, I think it's a safe bet to say that was a pretty bad case. I'm just glad that it didn't burst in flames and make my husband a sudden widower. I shudder at the thought of it.

In my defense, I did everything according to instructions. The package offered two alternatives; steam or microwave. Needless to say, I wasn't in the right mind to choose a 20 minutes steaming option over a 2-and a half minutes in the microwave. Why did I even bother to save myself 17-and a half minutes? Why?

Don't get me wrong. I still love my microwave and think that it's the lazy-person's best friend ever. But I need to learn that not everything can go in frozen and come out a piping hot, incredible dish. Those days were over for me. Guess I'll fire up my kitchen more often from now on (pun totally not intended). 

I want to be a good housewife that rules the kitchen, not burn it down.. I know you do too ;)

So, keep safe, ya'll. The Missy prays.