Monday, April 18, 2016

When Baby Number Two was a False Alarm

I'm supposed to be five months pregnant by now. I learned last January 17 that I was positive. I didn't make a big announcement since I haven't had my ultrasound yet. I just want to wait until I am sure the baby is fine. At 11 weeks, on the first week of March, I had my first ultrasound. J and I found out that there's no sign of the baby. No sign of the fetus nor the yolk sac. I was still okay that day until the following day. I actually saw Rica's blog about Pain and Peace but I didn't read it until night time when J and Nate are already asleep. That's the time I felt discouraged and asked God why. Maybe I don't have the right to ask him why but God knows my heart to be honest with him as my heavenly father to asked that question. As I read through the blog, I thought, this might be  happening to me as well. We're praying for a miracle but at the same time we will accept whatever the will of God is for my life. The following day, John sent me Psalm 91 about God's protection.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:1-4

We didn't talk about it until bedtime when I just couldn't hold my tears anymore. When John asked me why, I told him I don't need to explain. He understood what it is about and he explained to me that God gave him this verse for my protection. While I understand that he is trying to comfort me, I told him to allow me to cry until I'm done crying and it continued the following day. That was Saturday night, two days after the result. When we're about to have our dinner date, I was finally okay slowly accepting the reality that there's no baby inside my womb. Was I still praying for a miracle? Yes, I do but I had peace that no matter what the doctor would tell us, we know that it's a way of protection from God.

Monday came and we were able to talk to our doctor and she explained to us what happened. She was kind enough to be gentle and very professional in explaining the details to us. I left without being heartbroken. It's better not to have the baby after all than having an abnormal baby. I would understand women who cries over it even if there's no baby inside. Besides, I'm actually expecting there's a baby inside and I'm already thinking what to name our child. Of course, I would be discouraged but after allowing to process my feelings, it's time to move on.

There were other challenges and worries that I have to go through. I went through three ultrasounds to check if I'm already cleaned but I never had any bleeding for the past few weeks. Doctor said that most of the cases is that it will just go out naturally. I thought I would experience the same thing but I didn't. After my last ultrasound, the doctor said I really need to do the procedure. I was scheduled to do a D&C last Wednesday (but checked-in on Tuesday morning for blood tests and x-ray) which I didn't want to undergo because I know I would be worried about the expense (aside from not wanting to be at the hospital) that we're not supposed to have.

While I had a normal delivery with no epidural, I had anesthesia (through the spine) this time and I also requested if I can be sedated during the procedure. I woke up being brought to the recovery room yet I continued to sleep but at the back of my mind, I still continue to think and wrestle, and most especially talk to my heavenly Father asking Him what is really your plan for our family and again the famous question why.

We were able to go home the following day feeling tired and exhausted. We rested for awhile before my father-in-law brought Nate home with us. When Nate saw me, I wonder if he misses us because he wants to play with his fire truck right away.

While trying to understand what happened, I told myself to appreciate and be grateful for Nate even more. What if he's the only child and I never really appreciated him because I was too focused on what might have been. It made me realized that no matter how tempting it is to leave him to someone else so I can do my own agenda, it's still my responsibility to raise and more importantly to teach him the ways of God. I am also grateful for John for being patient and for being understanding whenever I am going through something no matter how small my concern is.

Sometimes I still wonder, why did I ever get "pregnant" when there's no baby after all yet we have to spend for the hospital bills which we could have used to invest in our business. Sometimes the sad part is, that although I should be happy, I am surrounded/know a lot of women who are pregnant. My case is very common and many women have experienced it. I know probably three or four of them but each one goes through it differently, and thankfully for me, even though I feel uneasy and uncomfortable and maybe embarrassed with it sometimes, I always look back on why God did not allow it to happen yet I'm still asking God why He allowed the procedure to happen.

Now that the procedure is over, I am slowly getting back into my routine although I need to be aware that I can't really exhaust myself too much. The following day after being discharge from the hospital, we visited Nate's doctor for his vaccination. Life is back to normal and it's time to do what needs to be done. While I was really okay with the blighted ovum, I was really bothered that our hospital bill is just almost the same as when I had given birth. John and I are also waiting for another laboratory results due next week and we continue to trust the Lord that whatever the results, He knows everything.

In the meantime, it's time to make more granolas and maybe even sandwiches, salads and ready to eat meals.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mehl & Zucker - Your Friendly Neighborhood Artisan Baker

I'm not much of a bread person until I made my own bread in a culinary school. We had an Italian chef instructor who speaks Canadian English and very good French and of course Italian. He speaks with gusto and enthusiasm about bread and everything else about food. When he speaks, everyone listens and with his good sense of humor, everything he said is very convincing and inspiring. 

There's another chef instructor from Denmark from the same school but has lived in Vancouver for so many years. He had convinced me that a warm potato bread smeared with duck fat goes very well. I had seconds for both after that. In fact, for him, every dish should be cooked in duck fat while fish sauce should be an all-purpose seasoning and condiment. He can't live without both.

Going around Vancouver and visiting different bread shops opened up my eyes to the different varieties of bread available. Although making breads in a hotel school in Switzerland has been an advantage, I wasn't able to appreciate bread making during that time. But the exposure in Vancouver was really a great experience for me to discover that there's more to bread than just sweet white bread. Until today, I'm still not a fan of  it unless I'm very, very hungry and it's given to us.  I don't like the sweet taste and aroma of it. I like it when it's sour and the dough has developed its flavor before baking it. So, yes to sourdough bread, Olive Fougasse and Walnut Ficelle.

Then Mehl & Zucker at Streetscape, Maria Luisa Road Banilad opened on the last quarter of 2015. Although I'm not a frequent buyer, I'm delighted that Cebu has other options of artisan bread around the neighborhood and this one is the nearest to visit.

Visiting a former student who is now managing the shop was also a delight. I was honest with him that posting it on my blog would mean more exposure but not a review, even telling him that it might not get any attention because I haven't blogged  in a long time. Having studied in Switzerland, I'm supposed to know a few German words but since it was a long time ago, I just have to ask Alfred what it meant. It's flour and sugar. How could I ever forget two simple German terms used a lot in baking.

Alfred served us the plain, chocolate and almond croissant. Almond croissant has been mom's favorite and so is mine. It was gone before I would even take a photo. They serve different types of European artisan breads but they also have a few selections of cakes and macaroons. Aside from the French baguette, they also have Multi-seed Walnut, Rye bread and Country Whole Wheat Bread. If you're looking for single serving breads, they have the croissants, bagel, ciabatta, pretzel and soft rolls. They are also offering prepacked products such as bread sticks, grissinis and crackers to pair up with your soup or cheese plate. If you're looking for other classics, they have the cinnamon roll, Danish pastries, muffins and apple strudel. If you're looking for something sweet, almost every boulangerie would serve pastries such as cheesecakes, macarons, opera cake, carrot cake, tiramisu and so much more. You can visit Mehl & Zucker's website for more bread and pastry selections.

They started serving breakfast as well along with soups and sandwiches that you can order all day. But when J visited 2 weeks to buy me some almond croissant, he mentioned that it would be a good place to have a quiet and relaxing breakfast which he haven't done for a long time.




Although I plan to bake some breads here at home, it's nice to have a bakery that I could visit anytime. I guess a breakfast date with J would be a great idea, maybe more of those almond croissant for me and Nate, a baguette for my crostini and sunflower seed bread for my sandwich. The possibilities are endless with Mehl & Zucker, my friendly neighborhood artisan baker.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Eat Pray Love

Garden by the Bay

There were a few things that had happened the past two months. First, I'm no longer doing the lunch catering business because the people at the company are rarely eating at the office. I was actually expecting that to happen even before they mentioned it. Second, I got sick, then the little one followed. I thought it was just a minor cough and cold for both of us but it lasted for 2 weeks. Nate experienced fever for a few days before having the cough while I continued getting sick for more than a month dealing with dry and itchy throat and coughing at the same time. 

It's really hard to get sick most especially when medications are already needed. I also have to send Nathan to the other house for 6 days when I started taking antibiotics. I couldn't take care of him anymore. The fever and the cough was just getting worst.

With Rev. Edmund and Pastor Ann Chan
Even after getting Nathan back, I wasn't 100% well but I have the energy and the stamina to take care of him already. At that time, I was looking forward to our trip to Singapore. A kind-hearted woman sponsored our trip to attend the IDMC (Intentional Disciple-Making Church) Conference last September 2-7. We were already booked almost a year ago and J and I planned to stay longer after the conference. We were able to book another 2 extra days but I thought 2 days were not enough to explore Singapore and their food. I was right.

AT Madam Tussauds
No matter how well we plan in advance, there were things that will not turn out the way we want it. Sometimes we have to bend ourselves to mold and fit into the situation. After the 2 day conference, what J and I all did is to travel, walk and eat. Since were were staying near the airport, travel time is much longer to get into the city. Exploring the city means we get lost once in a while and get back on track to where we wanted to go.

It has been more than 15 years since I visited Singapore with my family. All I could remember was the Raffles Hotel, Jurong Park, Sentosa Island and how discipline the citizens were. I can't remember anything about the food. I am truly blessed to go back there to learn about God's word and to taste the food at the same time.

The hawker center is what Singapore is known for. We were able to try a few but we weren't able to visit the restaurants and cafes on my list. The trip was tiring indeed but with the help of an app that J downloaded on his iPad on how to get from one place to another really helped. It saved us time. Our extra two days was meant to find inspiration in food. The food was good but I haven't found anything that would jump start what we really wanted to do which is to have our own home-based business. Although I really want to continue my desire with healthy and plant-based foods, I think it's also not the right time for us. 

Even if we can concentrate with other food ideas, I want to be with the little one as much as possible more than the business most especially he is still very small. The formative years are very important to me. I had the little one in mind during the trip. I was hesitant to leave him for another 5 days (in addition of the 6 days I was sick) because I know that at this age, he will pick up bad habits and behaviors that are difficult to undo . It's the same thing when you have a stay out nanny who take cares of Nate while J and I have our Dgroup. It's not always possible to have him with me all the time. I also need some time off from him yet I want to fully trust Him that whatever happens, J and I will always the Nate's home and safe haven.

Universal Studios although not part of the itinerary
Worries aside and whatever bad things that creeps into my mind, J and I continued with our food pilgrimage. Rather, more of a walking pilgrimage exploring the streets and transferring from one train stop to another. I rarely fall asleep right away here at home but during our trip to Singapore, I was already asleep within seconds the moment I hit the sack and waking up early while  the sky is still dark to prepare for breakfast and the conference.

Although J and I just wanted to eat, we were encouraged to visit the Sea Aquarium and the Night Safari. That's what we did for the first 2 days.  Now that I was able to visit it, I don't need to go back unless we have Nate with us.

At DB Bistro and Oyster Bar 
A trip to 

Singapore is not the complete without visiting the iconic Marina Bay Sands and the hotel. Actually, we went to the Esplanade one Sunday afternoon to eat at the Makansutra Gluttons Bay and order some chili crabs but it was closed during the day because there's no roof to protect us from the scorching sun. So J suggested that since were are already here, why not try the No Signboard Seafood Restaurant for the chili crab. It was expected the crabs are expensive but I was still surprised with the bill amounting to 226. I didn't know that they charge for everything - the house tea, the towelette, the peanuts that we didn't eat and there's a service charge too. We only ordered 4 pcs of prawns and 1 piecce of crab and I thought, it was just an ordinary crab dish. We were still in a "what a waste" mode when we tried DB Bistro and Oyster Bar by Chef Daniel Boulud  at The Shoppes at Marina Bay. They might not have the best mushroom soup or duck confit  but the price was reasonable and the first that I ordered was superb. We could have also tried Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay instead of the No Signboard. At least now we know that we can move on to other restaurants or even Hawker centers to try the chili crab the next time we visit.

That same night, after our dinner at DB Bistro and Oyster Bar, we also went to the Gardens by the Bay. We didn't go there to check out the gardens. We went there to try the Sate by the Bay. It was a long walk from were we came from taking long the route. I'm about to give up but since we're already there, we just moved on until we found it. We only ordered the satay and I thought there must be a better satay out there. It's tempting to order more food from other stalls but we were still full. 

Wild Mushroom Soup
Duck Pate en Croute
Mediterranean Sea Bass
Duck Confit

I'm glad we extended for another two days instead of going home right away after the conference. We do miss the little one but some quality time with J is important for me. Sometimes we do get carried away in taking care of Nate and being parents to him that we forget that we have each other in the first place. We were so tired from the trip with aching feet and knees including back and shoulders. We haven't recovered even after 3 days of being back in Cebu. The important thing is we are together and we have our little one back with us.

Now, it's time to get back to my pending projects and make a business before we travel again.