Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thing I'm Not Going To Miss About Being Pregnant!

Phewww! As I creep into my 39th week, I am just really really looking forward to getting Baby A out of me. I just want my body back! As selfish as this sounds, I might as well blog about all the things I am not going to miss about being pregnant, just as a reminder for me when we decide to have #3! (If there is ever a #3!)

Extreme back pain.
I had extreme back pain as soon as I entered my 7th month. The pain was right at the end of the spine and because of it, I found it very hard to get up after from being horizontal. Hubby had to help me whenever he was around. My gynae suspected that carrying 4kg Aiden may have had an effect on my pelvic bone so she prescribed physiotherapy and aquatherapy exercises in the swimming pool. After my initial assessment with the physiotherapist, we found that my body anatomy is imbalanced, making me prefer my right side to support my body weight. In the end, I ended up getting Hubby to give me back massages and depending on AcuStop (medicated patches) to reduce the pain. 

Extreme itchiness.
Wow, this one was really extreme. It started as soon as I entered my 8th month. Hubby suspected that it had to do with consuming seafood (although I have never had any prior allergic reaction to seafood), but the itch persisted even after I started avoiding any kind of seafood. I only succumbed to lobster and Fatty Crab, and of course paid dearly for it afterwards. The itch was so bad that I would scratch myself in my sleep until it bled. I would itch at all possible areas of my body (even behind my ears!) and the absence of a rash made it hard to predict where I would itch next. All my hard work religiously putting anti stretch mark creams went out the window as I couldn't stop scratching at the tummy area as well. There was one night when we went to Setia City Mall and I developed an itch at the chest area. I ended up buying calamine lotion at a nearby pharmacy and nearly poured the whole bottle on myself as soon as we got into the car. No matter how much stretch mark cream, calamine lotion and anti rash powder I slather on to myself, it merely eased it for half hour then the itch sensation would flare up all over again. In the end my gynae made me do a liver function test to rule out Obstetric Cholestasis, but that turned out negative. Finally, I was prescribed Piriton allergy tablets and I continue to depend on that until today.

The "sinking" feeling.
I don't know how to explain this, and I probably never will. Although I have to admit the sinking feeling has somewhat reduced itself to only happening during the third trimester, as opposed to having it throughout the pregnancy when I was carrying Aiden. The sinking feeling is similar to what you will feel when you are on a roller coaster. I can't explain why I have it and what triggers it, but whenever I experience it, it feels like something really bad is going to happen and the hormones just surges over me making me want to just sit, bawl and cry. I notice that it usually happens when I am taking a shower. Sometimes I shake it off, sometimes I will just crawl into bed until it disappears.

Heavy, huge, expanding tummy.
Try carrying (or rather waddling) 20kg extra everywhere and tell me if it ever is enjoyable? Probably if the weight is evenly distributed then my legs may cope, but when it is concentrated on just the tummy area, sometimes I even have to arch my back just to balance myself. And why is it that no one seems to be able to judge how much space my protruding tummy takes in an elevator and ends up brushing his/her body against it?? Of course, the huge tummy makes me breathless, and forget about bending down to pick up anything. If ever I need to sit down on the floor, god forbid I need to stand up again! But yeah, when I finally do need to stand up, Hubby helps or I end up on all fours then scramble to hold on to something to support my weight to help me stand. And yes, I am carrying a huge baby (another 4kg??!!) and I do have the license to eat, so stop annoying me by saying that I look huge! Trust me, I don't want to be this huge.

Difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position.
The first thing I am going to do after giving birth is roll over, tidur meniarap and have a really good sleep. Despite all the pillows I use to support my tummy, to hug between my legs and to even support my back, I wake up in the morning facing flat up. My body doesn't like being told that it has to sleep sideways and rebels during the night by turning itself. See #4 for explanation on heavy tummy and #1 on back pain, combine these two together and you will understand my frustration whenever it is time to go to sleep. Duduk pun salah, baring pun salah! *sigh*

Baby stretching in my tummy and hard kicks to the bladder.
Honestly, I rather have Baby A out of me so I can actually play with him, instead of him being inside me wiggling and playing with (read: kicking) my bladder! Also, whilst I actually enjoyed the small kicks and turns Baby A made during the early phases of the pregnancy, I didn't really enjoy the stretching during the early third trimester as it kept making me feel like I needed to pee. (Amazingly those stretching stopped at the end of the third trimester probably because there wasn't much space left for him to do that.)

The need to pee!
Yes, the need to pee ALL the time. Especially when you're out and about in a shopping mall or driving in a traffic jam. It has gotten to the point where every time I stand up, I feel the urge to pee. Imagine my frustration when I finally summon the courage to pee in a petrol station toilet and had lined the toilet bowl with so much tissue until it met my hygiene standards, only to find that I only needed to pee a teeny teeny weeny trickle. Not worth the effort! And I hate having to wake up in the middle of the night to pee so nowadays I make sure I drag myself to the toilet just before I sleep. Did I mention peeing a little each time I cough or sneeze? So please don't forget to kemut and do your Kegel exercises!

Being hot!
And i'm not talking about being sexy hot. I'm constantly feeling warmer than everyone else and it is very frustrating. Hubby keeps complaining that the car/room aircond is too cold and we end up wrestling for the aircond button/remote.

Protruding belly button.
I hate it when people prod my belly button! Aiden especially likes pushing it in, and got very excited when he discovered that my belly button will "sink" in whenever I am lying flat on my back. (Some people complain that their tummy becomes public property once they get pregnant, everyone touches it - but I guess I have a higher tolerance than some people. So yeah, I don't mind you touching my tummy, but don't prod my belly button!!!)

Not being able to shave down "there".
I hate having to depend on Hubby to help me shave. *period*

Skin and hair and water retention.
When carrying Aiden, at least I was blessed with good hair and glowing skin, but started developing oil seeds on my forehead which never went away even after the pregnancy. This time around, the oil seeds got worse (even with religious cleansing and monthly facials), and my hair just wouldn't cooperate - especially after the perm I had during my 4th month. As for the water retention, it officially started when I felt the water retention in my fingers whilst I was running 5km at 33weeks (never again!). However, the water retention in my feet and fingers is significantly less than when I was carrying Aiden. The Fitflops I bought two sizes two big, to accommodate for the same water retention during Aiden, still feels big until today. I can even wear my normal flat shoes! But the bloating of the facial features? *sigh* Check out my huge nose... *double sigh*

Unfashionable maternity clothes.
Did I mention how expensive they are too? They cost a bomb, and they don't make you look good. I swore I was going to depend on leggings and long tops during my entire pregnancy, but I ended up rotating between two black (black is good!) non-pregnancy slacks from Marks & Spencer and Mrs Read, and reusing all of my old maternity clothes. Stretchable and comfortable but soooo unfashionable!

Heartburn, morning sickness and cramps.
Way down on my list since I made Gaviscon my best friend, and knowing that stuffing myself silly with food will ease my morning sickness and nausea, which magically stopped after the first trimester. As for the cramps, I think I only woke Hubby up once during the night to help me with a cramp. Other times, whenever I feel a cramp coming, I manage on my own by just pulling my feet back until the sensation disappeared. Oh, and no bleeding gums this time!

Checking into the hospital tomorrow. Wish me luck and bring me a plate of Sashimi when all this is done!

Baby's face on Hubby's birthday. It was the last (and only) time we got to see his face because he's forever shy, covering his face with his hand, and then afterwards he turned downwards to get ready to engage. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lau Wan Fried Kuetiau - Childhood Memories!

Best kuetiau (kuey teow) in town!
It was just meant to be. That fateful morning, Hubby asked for an English breakfast. As I was googling for Sunday morning English brunch to satisfy his craving (I wonder, who's the pregnant one now??), by chance I googled a name that evoked memories from at least 15 years ago.

Kuey Teow Lau Wan had always been my Mum's favourite. Everytime we went to visit my aunt (who used to stay in SS2), we would always make a pitstop and tapau several bungkus of his scrumptious kuey teow as dinner. Upon arriving at my aunt's house, everyone would gather around the dinner table to enjoy the kuey teow, with comments about how good it tasted like and how one pack was just not enough! I think we started frequenting his stall when I was 8 years old. Unfortunately, when I was 15, we drove up to his usual stall only to find that he had moved! And this was a time when Facebook or Google didn't exist. And that became the last time I had the nyummy kuey teow. *sigh*

Imagine my surprise, 15 years later, to find out via Google that his business is still in existence! He even has his own Facebook page! And Uncle Lau Wan still looks the same, albeit some thinning white hair. Of course, his kuey teow made it into my mengidam list and after a few weeks of careful planning, the SPK gang finally made the trip to his stall. Hubby even called ahead to check whether they were open since he was so worried that his heavily pregnant wife wouldn't be able to have the kuey teow before she popped (and face the wrath afterwards)!

That's Uncle Lau Wan himself in green, frying each and every plate of kuey teow goreng himself.
Can you see the list in yellow on the right side of the stall? He has expanded his business to not just fried kuey teow, but also other dishes too! And yes, we ordered every single thing on the yellow menu!

First up, the tauhu bakar arrived. It was sooooo finger licking good. The tauhu was crisp, with a generous heap of nuts, bean sprouts and shredded cucumber topped with to-die-for homemade sauce.

Tauhu bakar! Will definitely order this again.
Next came the rojak buah. I am not a big fan of rojak (probably since I don't particularly like fruits and vegetables), and whenever I do have rojak it would be mee rojak mamak. But the homemade rojak sauce was really good so I left most of it to the other girls to finish up.

Rojak buah. Mixed vegetables and fruits with homemade rojak sauce and a generous sprinkling of nuts.
The kuey teow arrived soon after. The first picture above shows the kuey teow with prawns (unpeeled), cockles, bean sprouts soya sauce and cili padi. The one below is the kiddy version - kuey teow without sayur and tauge! Not only for Aiden, but for me as well (told you i'm not fond of vegetables). Seriously, his kuey teow still tastes the same even after 15 years. In my opinion it is even better than the famous kuey teow over at Doli's in TTDI. Aiden finished one whole plate all by himself!

Kiddy version of the scrumptious kuey teow.
While we were enjoying our meal, Uncle Lau Wan himself came to deliver the next dish - sotong kangkung. It was sooooo good as well (apa yang tak sedap kat kedai nie???) and I of course enjoyed the squid more than the kangkung. We engaged Uncle Lau Wan in a conversation and I told him about how his kuey teow had been my childhood favourite, how I lost him when he moved shop and how I found him over the internet through his Facebook page. I think my story must have moved him (or because we were the biggest crowd at this stall that night - 9 adults and 8 kids!) that he came back with his business card for each of us and offered us a taste of a bowl of his mee kari, on the house!

Sotong kangkung -  definitely another must try!
Even our resident cook in the gang admitted that the mee kari was really good (despite her initial reservations that the kuah was a bit too cair). In the end she relented and even asked Uncle for his recipe. His answer? He pounds/grinds all the ingredients from scratch - no instant rempah kari okay! When one of us commented that his sotong kangkung tastes exactly like the one from the lady who used to sell behind his stall, he told us that the sotong kangkung sauce used by the lady was actually by him - he sells it to the lady who then prepares the complete dish to sell! By the end of the conversation, he had all of us wondering why our husbands are not as savvy in the kitchen as Uncle Lau Wan! *grin*

He even entertained our request for a picture. Ignore my 39weeks chubby cheeks!
Not in picture is the above mentioned mee kari and kerang bakar. Despite being in a stall environment, Uncle Lau Wan is very very clean, and this is proven when the kerang bakar he served to us were cleaned until the shells were white!

Meanwhile, the kids were keeping themselves occupied by playing musical chairs!

Aiden trying his very best to stay in the game.
In the end, of course only the older kids remained in the game.
It was a really good last outing with the girls before I popped. I laughed my head off the whole night, and forgot about my nervousness with the upcoming labour. Heck, I think I even ignored my Braxton Hicks contractions that night.

If you want a taste of that fabulous kuey teow (or even to order his homemade rojak sauce to go), Uncle Lau Wan is open from 530pm - 11pm and located at:

No. 13, Jalan SS3/33, Selera Wawasan, Petaling Jaya.

And this is his Facebook page. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lightning McQueen Cake and Disney Cars Dessert Table

Aiden posing with Lightning McQueen during our recent trip to Disneyland.
Aiden is a die-hard Disney Cars fan. During our last holiday, the initial plan was to bring him to Disneyworld in Orlando (much closer to Houston) but when we heard about the new Cars Land in Disney California Adventure Park, we changed our destination (incurred a penalty with the flight tickets as well!) and let's just say, Aiden became the happiest boy in the happiest place on earth.

Lightning McQueen actually drives (moves) itself from one location to another, and takes turns with Mater for the meet and greet sessions. They even interacted with Aiden, moving their eyes and even said pre-programmed phrases each time Aiden touched the body of the car or came close to pose with them.
But our Disneyland trip is not the subject of this post. I can't even bear the thought of having to filter through over 2000 pictures for this blog. Maybe during my maternity leave, eh?

Anyway, after my success with Aiden's Disney Cars 2nd Birthday, I was itching to reuse a lot of the props I had purchased for the event. And since I didn't make the McQueen cake for Aiden's birthday (way too busy!), I was itching to try my hand at the 3D cake as well. Well, my wish came true!

First up, an order for a 3D Lightning McQueen cake. A dear neighbour entrusted me with the job of creating a birthday cake for his son and I was quite honoured to be given the opportunity and trust, especially since it was my first time sculpting a 3D cake!

Used a mini Lightning McQueen die cast model as a guide to shape the fondant. 
Next, tyres! I had to use sturdy red bottle caps (since it had to support the weight of the fondant car body) and wrapped them in black fondant.
Used bottles to shape the sides of the cake to give the body more definition. Left it to dry.
Cut out holes for the tyres.
Used grey fondant for the windows. Can you see the crack lines? Beginners mistake - I should have kneaded the fondant more to get rid of the cracks before shaping it.
Check out my messy workplace - tools and fondant everywhere!
I used edible image decals to decorate the car.
Back of the car.
Does it look close enough to the die-cast Lightning Mcqueen model car?
Tyres were struggling to support the weight of the body.
Chocolate cake! Used orange-brown fondant to create a marbled effect as the base. Topped it with black fondant to make it look like Lightning McQueen is sitting on a road.
The assembled cake. 
View from the side.
View from the top.
Beginners mistake. I used shortening to cover the cracks on the car. Unfortunately it gave the car a weird gleaming sheen where I rubbed it in, and I ended up having to cover the whole car with shortening!
Armed with all the lessons learnt from the first cake, I bravely accepted another order for the same cake for Darwish, Aiden's "uncle". This time, no shortening, more kneading of the fondant and better proportionately sized fondant. And the end result was much much better!

Loving the matte finish. 
Instead of a road, I covered the cake in black fondant then laid a checkered pattern on the top of the cake.
Windscreen was more proportionate to the size of the car.
Back of the car. Tyres were a better and fit and could better support the weight of the body.
No more horrible obvious cracks on the surface of the car.
Next up, a Disney Cars Dessert Table for Darwish.

Darwish is 4!
Top view of the dessert table.
Dessert table layout.
What dessert table would be complete without some McQueen macarons?
Luigi Candy and Sally Sweets. 
Sarge Jelly and personalized water bottles.
Personalized poster and of course, my 3D cake Lightning McQueen pride and joy.
Apothecary jars with Fillmore Bubblegum, Rusteze Jelly Beans and McMissile Marshmallows.
Carrera Cupcakes adorned with personalized cupcake toppers. Personalized chocolates as well.
Reused all the decorations I purchased earlier for Aiden's birthday, including the Lightning McQueen pinata.
Designing a dessert table for a family member is easy enough (especially since I wasn't charging consultation fees for my design - chewah!) but a dessert table for a paying customer, is a whole different level of complexity. Especially since the customer turned out to be a "somebody" in Putrajaya and it was a party for his grandson.

Invitation card for the event by KiddyBounce. Yes, it was KiddyBounce's event and I was honoured to be given the opportunity to design the dessert table.
Audi is such a cool name. I had to allocate space for 2 cakes (not in picture) since both the grandparents and the parents bought cakes for the beloved birthday boy.
Top view of the dessert table.
Layout of the dessert table.
Instead of personalized water bottles, I used the Rusteze logo to personalize them. Cutting the logo was no easy feat though! Used the same logo to personalize cups filled with jelly beans.
Checkered cloth for the marshmallows.
Used Aiden's Mac truck toy as an additional decoration.
Reused Aiden's road signage and personalized it with Audi's name. KiddyBounce's inflatable castle in the background. My car and Hubby's car parked in front of the Putrajaya mansion - we had to use two cars to transport everything to the party site! 
If you're planning a Disney Cars party or embarking on a Lightning McQueen 3D cake, I hope the pictures above help give you ideas. Good luck!
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