There’s Nothing Like Comfort Food

Baked ziti is truly wonderful, made with homemade spaghetti sauce, high quality cheese, and good ground meat.  I think the homemade sauce really makes the difference for me.  It’s one of hubby’s favorites in the winter, and judging by both the quantity and speed at which Sunita inhaled it, I’m guessing it’s hers too.  The foccacia bread is also a favorite at our house (see below for bread machine recipe).  I have been known to polish off a 9×13 pan in less than two days (WITH HELP).  I have found that garlic for breakfast (or before) really makes me a favorite for intimate conversation the rest of the day as well.  I have also been looking for a really good Caesar salad dressing.  Hubby loves Caesar salad and as of yet we haven’t found THE ONE. So I tried two very different recipes.  Neither was perfect, but the more traditional recipe was a bigger hit. Throw in some home-made garlic croutons, and the meal is complete!

Focaccia Bread with Garlic Cheese Topping

Dough Ingredients:

1 cup Water (80°F/27°F)

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2 tsp. Sugar

1-1/2 tsp. Salt

3 cups Bread Flour

1 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning

2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast

Topping Ingredients:

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1-1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano

1/4 cup Garlic, finely minced

1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

1/4 tsp. Salt

Method:

1. Prepare the focaccia dough in the bread machine. (Makes a 1.5 LB loaf on the “Pizza Dough Cycle”)

2. With oiled hands, evenly press dough into a greased 9×13 pan. Using your fingertips, make indentations in the dough.

3. Cover, let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. While the dough is rising, select the topping and prepare.

4. In a skillet, heat oil. Stir in oregano and garlic. Immediately remove from heat.

5. Spoon topping mixture evenly over dough. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients.

6. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I Am No Longer Basking in the Glow

I really enjoy my daughter, I do.  But now the excitement of having her home is wearing off and the reality of having a daughter is catching up. The nightmares (we think) are happening.  We were warned that she could have nightmares, as little as she is.  So, for no other apparent reason, she will wake up about every half hour at night wimpering to start and if we don’t get there in time moving to a full blown cry.  Every half hour. Yep.  We are tired.  Now, our family has been super supportive and offered to come give us a night off, BUT she is not like a birth child.  We have to work at the attachment business, which includes waking up every half hour.  We have found a way that she will stay asleep – sleeping on us.  Yep, not just with us, but on us.  Well, that’s comfy, or NOT.  Also, this puts us in the awkard position of trying to decide whether letting her sleep with us is something we want to encourage?  Letting her cry is not an option in our case.  Her needs must be met for awhile!  So we sit here this afternoon, enjoying the peacefulness of her nap in a quandary.

You know how when you are so doggone proud of your kids for doing somthing just right (like sleeping through the night or going potty in the toliet on their own)… that just by speaking the words (or writing the words down) it seems as though the child has unlearned everything they know and are doing the exact opposite.  Well, I’m hoping the same thing will happen but in the reverse for us. Silly me.

My World has Been Photoshopped…

…or so it feels.

This is a view of our street yesterday. And today there was even more snow.  This does NOT happen here.  Thanks global warming ;D

Yep, that IS snow falling in the background!

Our little pink black bear likes to eat and lick the snow.  The fact that its freezing really doesn’t seem to bother her at all.

Here’s our vehicles. This is today’s picture.

And the ruling (or ahem, ruler) is… 13 and 1/2 inches.  Woohoo!!

The munchkin and I have gone for several walks.  Lucky for Dad, he hasn’t had work so he gets to join us.  Lucky for us, Dad’s coat is big enough for us both!

Tonight’s view! We took the car out and about tonight and it did just fine.  Jared was going to shovel the driveway, but then we thought, “It’s a Subaru.  Why bother?”

I just want to say Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!

A Visit!

Grandma and Grandpa D came to visit for the first time since baby arrived.  I thought I would post some of my favorite photos during their time here.  When I say favorite, what I really mean is when our daughter is doing something fairly normal and ordinary and we couldn’t be prouder.

The giraffe gets a wet sloppy kiss (same as the rest of us).  And btw, she blows kisses now too!

Nana and the Sunita.  She loves her purple cell phone. The thing on her head is grandpa’s ear warmers, backwards and upside down.  (And this was posted especially for Mom, to show I was able to get a photo of both of you even though Dad didn’t).


I actually think this is after my parents had left, but I couldn’t resist posting it.

Happy 1st Birthday!! (and other photos)

Sunita turned one on Saturday, Dec. 6th.  I am so thankful to have been able to celebrate this birthday with her here!

Alas, somehow with so many creative and talented people in my life, my little one’s first birthday was a testament to my lack of true creative talent.  Although it came together at the end, who knew that a first birthday would be such a big deal for mommy.  The teddy bear cupcakes may have got more attention than her for awhile. ;D

There is the birthday girl and you better believe she was ready for something sweet!

By time we actually got to the eating of the cupcakes she was about ready for a nap.  NOT such a great photo op. Tired and cranky girl!

These are other pictures of the darling since we have arrived home.  This girl likes to eat and loves to feed herself.  Although she doesn’t really look like it, she was loving the mac-n-cheese.

As all babies are, Sunita is very flexible.  Here, to her daddy’s continued amazement, she does the splits.

That’s a straw in her mouth, but this shot really is included to showcase the gorgeous sweater her Auntie M made her.  She is a talented woman, and we are glad to be on the receiving end of that talent!!

Something I have never experienced in all my years of watching kids, a girl who likes the lotion more in her than on her.  Every night after bath when I go to put her lotion on, she licks my hand any time it comes near her face.  Is this abnormal?  We think so.

Signs you might be in India

From Jared’s recordings during our stay in India.

You can’t count to 5 without hearing a horn honk.

Your snot turns black, your eyes burn, and you breathe heavy like you recently started smoking a pack a day.

You get a nice hotel room and the bathroom has four floor drains – all with mothballs on them to keep the creepy-crawlies out.

You get a not-so-nice hotel room and the bathroom has a hole in the wall to the outside large enough for any rodent known to man to pass through.

The hole is in the upper left corner, next to the tiny hot water heater that had to be turned on 20 minutes prior to use.

The hole is in the upper left corner next to the tiny hot water heater which had to be turned on 20 minutes before use.

Driving through town you look across the lanes and see: car-motorcycle-car-bicycle-cow-autorickshaw-dog-motorcycle-motorcycle-motorcycle.

Cows on the right.

Cows on the right.

In this case they are water buffalo.

In this case they are water buffalo.

The traffic is always bumper to bumper and door to door.

The traffic is always bumper to bumper and door to door.

You get a “double” hotel room and that just means they pushed together two single beds…and kept them made separately.

You don’t see any women working in clothing stores, but you do see them hauling bricks and digging on construction crews.

A typical sari "counter"

A typical sari “counter”.

The sari shelves.

The sari shelves.

Men selling saris on the street.

Even on the street, men sell saris.

Women working.

Women working.

The women would carry these huge bundles of sticks.  It was incredible.

The women would carry these huge bundle of sticks. It was incredible.

Street signs, except for ads, are non-existent.

The bigger your vehicle, the more right of way you have.  Good luck crossing the street as a pedestrian.

The more people crossing the street, the safer it is for them.  So crowds move across the roads rather then individuals.

The more people crossing the street the safer it is. So crowds move across the roads rather than individuals.

Pickups are nowhere to be found.  Hauling things is a job for bicycles.

The biker/hauler is on the left. You can see his pipes and his tricycle.

We’re catching up…

…on sleep, on life, on the blog.  I realize as I write this that it has been a week since we have been home. I can hardly believe it.  Sunita is down for a SCHEDULED!!! nap (YAY!) so I have time to do this.

The plane ride home was gruesome, and that was considering that the flights went WELL.

A VERY tired mommy and baby.
A VERY tired mommy and baby.

Sunita had only two major freak outs and that was with an ear infection (confirmed yesterday by the doctor).  We arrived at the Delhi airport at around 8:00 pm and hung out in a lounge (think a food court and airport seating, nothing fancy) because they wouldn’t let us in the airport proper until 3 hours before our flight. We entered the airport at 10:40 pm and boarded around 12:30 am.  We took off at 1:40 am. Throughout all of our connections and security checks everything went smoothly.  Thank you all for your prayers.

There is much to tell and share but I know most of you really just want to see pictures of the munchkin, so here you go (with some stories to go along with the photos):

This is Sunita's primary caretaker at the orphanage.
Sunita’s primary caretaker at the orphanage

This is really Sunita’s first mom, although not her birth mom.  She took care of her from the day after she was born until we picked her up. The hardest part (for me) of getting her was when I had to take her from this wonderful lady.  We went to leave the orphanage and her caretaker had come and got Sunita from me and walked outside. I let her go, knowing she deserved time to say good bye.  When we were done in the office I went to take Sunita back, but her caretaker wasn’t giving her up willingly.  Our adoption coordinator, Rajeev, told me to “Just take her”.  So I pulled Sunita out of her arms and just broke down.  The memory will always remain with me.

Sunita’s forever mommy adoring her.  By the way, the goop they used to give her the very cute ponytail worked great (so great it took 2 or 3 washings to get it out).  But it had the strange effect of making her head smell like a quesadilla (hence why we wanted to wash it out).

Mouth full of lentils with yellow curry sauce and rice, YUM!

We couldn’t believe our good fortune upon meeting our little girl.  She is even prettier in person!  She looks adorable in ears, well actually, in everything.  This was in the airport on the way home.  The hat worked great for long cold flights where the outside temp. was -80 degrees (F) and the inside temp. felt that cold sometimes.

At last one picture to really brighten anyone’s day.  How can you keep from smiling when you see this face?  Daddy was playing with her.  He can really make her laugh!

Leaving on a jet plane!!

We leave just over two weeks!  Our flight plan looks like this…

Off we go – Sun, November 16

Depart: Portland, OR Sun. November 16 8:35 AM
Arrive: Detroit, MI Sun. November 16 3:48 PM
Depart: Detroit, MI Sun. November 16 7:00 PM
Arrive: Amsterdam, Netherlands Mon. November 17 9:05 AM
Depart: Amsterdam, Netherlands Mon. November 17 11:05 AM
Arrive: Delhi, India Mon. November 17 11:30 PM

When we arrive in India, we will get off our plane at 11:30 PM their time (11:00 AM our time), and drive 3.5 hours to Agra.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we will sightsee.  Friday we will travel to Cuttack and to the orphanage, visit Saturday, and head back to Delhi on Sunday.  And finally, we’ll go to the embassy on Monday and Tuesday.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig – Wed, November 26

Depart: Delhi, India Wed. November 26 1:40 AM
Arrive: Amsterdam, Netherlands Wed. November 26 5:55 AM
Depart: Amsterdam, Netherlands Wed. November 26 10:20 AM
Arrive: St. Paul, MN Wed. November 26 12:40 PM
Depart: St. Paul, MN Wed. November 26 5:20 PM
Arrive: Portland, OR Wed. November 26 7:06

Then sleep for days?

I’m Ready for Sunita to Come Home Now

For those of you who can’t or haven’t gotten to see the nursery lately, here are some pics.

The crib is ready.  The rocking horse is ready for “running” through the fields by a dream and a wish.

This is my sad state of organization for now.  The clothes are separated into bags by size. Toys are in one, medicine and bath stuff in another.  It isn’t perfect, but it’ll do – FOR NOW. Eventually, I’m hoping to have a curtain “door”.

I think my mom is a marvelous artist.  I specifically commissioned her to “paint me a world that would be cute for a nursery”.  This is what she did.  I completely love it.  This brings me to the overwhelming, thorough, and almost painful humility I feel after having my baby showers.  The homemade items not only took time, patience, work, and creativity but are beautiful treasures. I certainly feel that we don’t deserve this much. As I write my thank yous, I wish I could convey how very much all of the givers have meant to me and to us.

This is what I have “packed” for Sunita’s trip home. Travel size baby stuff, a few toys, 2 outfits for while we are there, pjs, a warm onesie for the airplane ride, and lots of diapers.  Most of the things we might need we can buy in India. So here it is. I’m trying to pack as little as possible. O, and I’ll throw in two blankets.