Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bryan Paul Teague

He has arrived! Out little bundle of love arrived on October 26th at 10:41 pm. "It's a boy!" Paul announced as he laid Bryan Paul on my tummy after delivery. He weighed 8 lbs. 9 oz. and was 20.75" long.

I have not been much of a "baby person," in the past, preferring to spend time with children that are older (4+ years being optimal). So I was worried that I would be always hoping my baby would be 4 years old sooner rather than later. But no, he's already 5 days old, and I'm instead worrying that he's already growing too fast! I could hold him all day long and look into his little face and not be bored for a minute, and I can't think of anything more precious (even a kitten, which I always argued was the cutest type of baby on the planet). So, yep, motherhood and me will be just fine, thank you!
Proud Daddy with Bryan just after delivery
All cleaned up and content as can be!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Green, yellow and white all over

What's green, yellow and white all over? Our laundry! The project for yesterday afternoon was washing all the baby clothes, blankets, bed linens and cloth diapers so that they can be put away and ready for use. It was pretty cute seeing all those newborn Onesies folded up! Ahh simple pleasures.

We finally got rain in South Carolina, too, which has been the big news around here. People practically dancing in the streets with joy. I think it's been something like 35 days without rain and that is something to contend with when all the plant life around here is used to at least one thunderstorm per week. We'd all given up on our lawns and I think Lawn Patrol has too, thank goodness. My rain barrel/soaker hose system amazingly kept our veggie garden alive through the blistering heat and "drought" although we didn't get much of a crop this year. We got a total of 2 cantaloupes, 4 cabbages, 1 bell pepper and 4 tomatoes and a bushel of jalepenos (odd that they did well)... and we are talking edibles, not number of plants here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yesterday was a really fun day of being showered again! Tracy, her mom and best friend came over and commandeered the house, setting up food and Beatrix Potter decor all over. About 20 people ended up coming from the neighborhood, church, and also the wives of the guys Tracy and I work with (the wives are so much more fun). We had a fun time visiting and eating some delicious southern food that I hadn't tried before (such as Pimento Cheese dip). Tracy, being the clever one that she is, had a Beatrix Potter name for all the food such as Jemima Puddle Duck's Devilish Eggs and Mr. McGregor's Garden Patch (veggie sticks and dip) and Mrs. Tiddlemouse's Pimento Cheese.

We had some oooing and ahhing and present opening too.

Backtracking to a few days ago, Paul thought we better get another belly picture because it's been awhile, so here I am on Thursday- yikes! hardly any shirts fit me anymore. I mainly wear dresses now.

And here is the crib set up in the finally-finished painted bedroom. All that's missing now is the chair rail that Dad's putting up when he arrives (and a bit more decor, lamps, etc to cozy it up).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Seeing Stripes

The first round of stripe-painting was last weekend and we were surprised at how fast it went. We also painted the ceiling a pretty pale blue. So by the time that was done our arms were tired and we decided to post-pone the second coat to this weekend. Stripes should be done today but sadly the paint store was closed on Saturday due to the holiday so we couldn't get more blue for the ceiling. Hunter Paints is the only store for hundreds of miles that sells the Mythic Paint that has no VOCs (bad for breathing) and is non toxic. By the time we realized we could order it online from Mythic, it was too late to have it for today.

But that's OK because stripe painting will be just enough painting for one day to wear us out and will also give us time to do other things like relax and enjoy the Monday off! It gets really hot in these rooms when you are working hard and there's no ceiling fans to help. Even setting the air conditioning down lower than normal didn't seem to make much difference, so painting was done with as few layers of clothing as possible.

The dark green stripes outlining the medium green stripes is one of the types of tape we are using to keep our lines straight, but will be coming off once we are done.

Happy Labor Day everyone! :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ship Out and Shape Up

We had a case of uninvited guests lodging in our pantry for a few weeks. It was probably longer than a few weeks but it became very noticeable that the lodgers were multiplying and fast becoming a daily occurrence. I bought a few pantry pest traps which were moderately effective by trapping the male moths so they can't reproduce, but then some days I found that there was still some mating shenanigans going on on the ceiling. So I ended up vacuuming twice a day until we had a weekend free to tackle the pests. Upon closer examination last weekend, we had cocoons and caterpillars allll in the nuts and flour and grains in our pantry. At least they were picky eaters so it was easy to get rid of the few infested items. But the bigger problem was that there were cocooners lodged in the lips of cans and under the ledges of bottled water, lunch bags and weaseled under box flaps that were sealed. What I thought would be an hour project of sorting through our food and cleaning down the floor with vinegar, ended up being an all day event of hauling everything out of the pantry and checking each item carefully before putting away and also wiping the whole pantry down with vinegar. Some things that were very questionable went straight out onto the deck for closer investigation..
while the less susceptible things were piled up onto the counters. Finally we got rid of them all. But even after the clear out, we were getting one moth every day for four more days until we were moth-free.

This last weekend we started painting the baby room to begin sprucing it up and making it more cozy. The primary color is a beautiful key lime pie color and I have to say it was the best paint I've ever used- Mythic Paint. It has no VOCs so it is virtually odor free and is safe from off-gassing toxins into the house, plus it is non-toxic so breathing was easy for me, the painter and it will be better for the baby. But even connoisseurs of paint that don't pick a paint primarily for the health/environment reasons would pick this paint for it's exceptional quality. It applies evenly, smoothly and I only had to do one coat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fun! Fun! Fun!

I had such a fabulous weekend two weekends ago- I went back to California for my babyshower! And my, was I showered! Dad even provided the soap and shampoo. It was great because so many people came and I got to see my friends and family that I haven't seen in a long time (some I got to see at Kaitlyn's wedding in May). I wished that we all could have stayed at the shower for another day so that I could have spent more time catching up with people individually. It all went so fast! I am still overwhelmed by the kindness of Deanna and Jill to host the shower for me and also for everyone else who took the time to make the drive out... some coming from as far away as Tucson and Mariposa! Paul and I are also well stocked now with a crib, Pack 'n Play outfits, books, blankets, quilts, a stroller and just about everything else we could possibly need. Thank you everyone!

We played some fun games like figure out what kind of chocolate bar is smeared in the diaper, guess the babyfood in the jar and baby items bingo.

We also ate some great food and did what women do best - gab! :-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Man in the Kitchen

Last week I got to escape the office for half a day to drive down to Camden, SC to do a safety audit on one of our groundwater monitoring teams. These are fun to do because the team gets an advance warning, we all are audited each week in the field by each other (so it's not stressful) and it gives an office person a chance to get out in the great outdoors for a few hours. It's been super hot and humid here, though, so it's not the ideal conditions for anyone to be outdoors.

I arrived on site just in time to get the last of a passing thunderstorm which made the mugginess more muggy and brought all the bugs out of the woodwork. I put on my steel toe boots and safety glasses and stepped out of the car into the meadow where the guys were working. Instantly I could not see because my glasses steamed up. But luckily, Ken was ingenious and had bought an industrial fan and matching industrial-strength power inverter for the car so that they had torrent of wind blowing across the tailgate and camp chairs they had set up by the well. Since every well was taking several hours to stabilize, they decided that they should take the time to set up as comfortably as possible at each location. Being pregnant, I was given "top fan position" with the cushiest chair. What gentlemen!

A good part of any decent safety audit is getting caught up on chit chat, finding out the woes of the field work, the adventure, the tales, and I likewise act as informant on office news, deadlines and other unpleasantries. Although I work with Ken all the time because we are in the same office, I don't see Woody very often because he's out of our Alabama office. So it was fun to see him. A highlight of the safety audit was the recipe that Woody described to me in detail. He hails from Tennessee and told me about this famous Tomato Pie recipe that he made that weekend. By the end of his impromptu cooking show (hand motions to demonstrate, colorful descriptors and passion), my mouth was watering with the thought of bacon and tomatoes. On the drive home I even stopped at a convenience store (no grocery stores en route for the whole hour drive) to buy the necessary cheese. What a pie it turned out to be!! I will share with you this secret:

Woody's Tomato Pie (this is probably not on the Weight Watchers menu)

Three large tomatoes (or so), chopped and well drained of juice (or you get soggy crust)
one baked pie crust (you can do 2 parts whole wheat flour to one part all purpose for more fiber)
one large onion
handful of fresh basil chopped or equivalent dried basil
about 6 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup of light mayonnaise (I used the olive oil mayo- turned out good)
1 cup of cheese (I used a combo pack of mozzarella, asiago, cheddar and provolone)
salt and pepper

Prepare and bake your pie crust at 350 for about 15 minutes. meanwhile chop and drain the tomatoes and onions, pick your basil and wash and chop and get the bacon cooking and drained. Chop bacon into small pieces. Once the crust is done, spread a layer of tomatoes, a layer of onion and sprinkle with bacon and basil. Repeat until all veggies/bacon have been placed in the crust. Season with salt and pepper and spread the mayo over the top of the pie like frosting. Then top with cheese and bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour. Serve with a fresh salad. This refrigerates well and tastes even better the next day!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Paul's Pork Chops

You read that right! Paul made dinner tonight to give me a break and he decided to make pork chops, like we often have, but with a flare. He made a sauce for the chops that to me was out of this world! It's a very simple sauce that he served over the chops, wild rice and broccoli.

3/4 of an apple, chopped
1/4 cup of Vermont maple syrup (yum)
2 Tbs. of chopped walnuts (thanks to Clementine willing to share)

We actually used my jarred apples that I jarred last October, which made it super easy, but if no jarred apples are handy, used fresh apples and cook in a saucepan for about 10 minutes to soften. Add the syrup and walnuts and cook for another 3-4 minutes. If you are using jarred apples, add all ingredients together and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Our fledgelings have left the nest, but before the whole family flew the coop, I managed to snag a blurry picture of Mom and Dad hanging out on a nearby branch to catch a breather between feedings. On this particular day I was working from home at the kitchen table and had the chance to notice the comings and goings of these hard-working parents as they made their way back and forth to the nest with worms, caterpillars and miscellaneous flying bugs. After each feeding, they would fly back to this same branch outside the kitchen window and preen, side by side. The next day, the whole family was gone. I'm glad I had a chance to watch the these tireless little wonders!
With all the bird activity, I decided to start one of my back-burner projects and make Clementine her very own indoor tree perch. Not being a very confident bird with her footing, I'm not sure how she'll take to something so jungle-gym like, but we'll see. I thought it would be nice to keep her big old cage in the office and have the tree out in the family room for her to sit on while we are home. It takes less space and it would give her a different place to be so it's not the same old, same old. I used one of the fallen branches in our yard and bought screws and bolts to construct this tree of perches. I had to strip the bark and will give it a douse of bleach water to kill all bacteria, fungi and bugs.

The tree was still not completely debarked because the outdoor temps soared again, so it had to remain outside. But after the neighboring birds got used to it being on the deck, some adventurous ones came by to make sure it was sturdy enough.

It's been turtle-nesting season, I'm thinking, because they are on the move just lately. Sadly, many get run over on the roads because they are trying to get to wherever they are trying to get to on the other side of the road, and they are not quite fast enough. Plus, they just ball up in their shell when a car comes their way. I have had to pull over and hitchhike a few to the other side.

This guy was cruising the perimeter of our veggie garden and was making a hasty retreat when I came by. Luckily, even at his fast pace, I was able to tap on the window to get Paul, he got his shoes on, found the camera and came out to grab a picture before the turtle could make the large 10 foot journey to the underbrush.
Even I am nesting. It kicked in and my gosh the projects that can be accomplished when focused! Curtains for both family room windows are nearly done after a few weekends of hard work (I've had the fabric for about a year), and wow are they orange! I love the color but they are orangier hanging than they were flat, so I'm working on ways to blend the colors in with the rest of the room and I think painting the walls will be key, along with some accessories.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Positively Pregnant

Wow six months pregnant and time has flown! Over the past month people are no longer avoiding asking if I'm pregnant for fear that I've just gained a bit of weight. I guess it has become more obvious that I'm carrying more than a few burgers. My favorite thing is that when I go to do some shopping, the cashiers ask me vague questions like, "So what are you having?" and I thought it was a weird question and responded with, "oh, just these few things, thanks." I still hadn't really gotten used to the questions yet when another cashier at Lowe's said the usual, "How are you today?" followed by, "Is this your first?" I said, "No, I've been a regular at Lowe's. I come at least once or twice a month." She laughed and said she was referring to my baby, and then she continued down a topic that was not so funny at the time. She asked, "how old are you?" I answered warily, "35." And THEN she said, "You have given me hope. I'm in my late 30s and am hoping to have kids..." Anyway, she must have certainly thought I was past my prime to have asked, and then she obviously thought that having a baby at my age was like climbing Mt. Everest! At the time, I found that conversation depressing since at 35 I don't feel ready to sail off into my sunset years just yet! But then I realized, it's how I feel that counts, right? And I feel great!

Yeah, I know, this picture is a bit odd, but Paul was never home from work when I was thinking of taking a belly picture, and he'd always think about it right about as I was about to drop into bed, so finally I just tried the timer feature on the camera and went for the self-portrait look.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Progress in the Garden

This spring was my first experience using my compost that took 2 years to mature. I have since realized that mowing/chopping my autumn leaves before putting them into my compost speeds things up tremendously. See, last fall I started a new pile before my old pile was finished. I didn't want to add new leaves to a nearly mature compost pile and so much to the chagrin of my neighbors, I had two monstrosities going simultaneously. With this new pile I have turned religiously every weekend and have the smaller leaves and it is already nearly at the stage that the 2007 pile was in by 2010. This spring I used my mature compost to spread around all my planted trees and shrubs which all needed a boost, and I used the rest to start my vegetable garden. Fun thing: I ended up with lots of surprise seedlings around my front yard bushes. I didn't pull them right away like I would other weeds because I was suspicious (and was right) that they were tomato plants! So looking carefully in the photo below, around a boxwood are 3 or 4 tomato plants.
I also ended up with a mystery squash or melon plant growing from my compost in the veggie garden. I still haven't figured out what kind of veggie or fruit it is, but I'm patiently waiting to find out. Another fun thing about my compost is that the results were quite amazing when my neighbor asked why the two cabbages on the far right are twice as big as the others. they were all the same size when I planted them, but the only difference was the two cabbage plants were growing in my compost and the rest were growing in the store-bought compost. I didn't have enough homemade compost to fill up the whole garden so only about 1/3 of it is filled with my compost. I might have converted my neighbor who was till that moment my biggest critic for the unsightly compost piles. She started asking me the particulars of compost-making.

The big project for the spring was this vegetable garden and the fun addition of a rain barrel. I bought one that is the most unobtrusive that I could find and hooked a soaker hose to it and a special rain barrel timer (that can run without any pressure). This setup, along with a rainy spring, has kept my garden watered self-sufficiently until the last few weeks when I needed some more aggressive watering due to the heat wave we had. The garden has gained a few neighborhood fans who come and admire the rain barrel operation. So I have to keep it well tended and weeded so as not to disappoint the fans.

Another great thing is that the rain barrel can't easily be seen from the front of the house.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pillow Tester

If you are wondering what kind of strange horseshoe-shaped pillow Paul is napping in, you are not alone. I've never seen one before, myself. This is the wonderful pregnancy pillow that arrived from yesterday. I've been having back problems at night since almost the beginning of pregnancey so I finally decided it was time to try something new. I shoulda tried this sooner -fabulously comfy! I guess Paul wanted to make sure it was suitable, and so is testing it in nap mode at this very moment. As he's been out for a few hours so far, it must be getting a good review. Maybe next week we will have two of these monstrously large pillows in our bed!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

I got this recipe from and they are SUPER!! I did 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour as opposed to what's listed below, but I think I'd need to add an additional 1/4 tsp. baking soda next time to help the heavy wheat rise more. Plus I am thinking next time of using 1 cup of honey instead of 1 1/4 cups of sugar (that's a lot of sugar and they were more than sweet enough).

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 apple - peeled, cored, and finely chopped
1 cup raisins
1 egg
2 egg whites
1/4 cup apple butter

1/4 cup mango chutney (or use 1/2 cup total of apple butter instead)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly oil 18 muffin cups, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, apple butter, oil and vanilla.
In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in carrots, apples and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
In a small bowl, combine walnuts and wheat germ; sprinkle over the muffin tops.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Our Ultracool Ultrasound

Ultrasounds have come a long way as my Aunt Jamie has said when she started doing the 4D ( I hope I'm using the right terminology... I want to call it 3D) ultrasounds on her patients. But it was hard to be amazed, truly, until we had one ourselves!

Tired Baby Teague

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bluebirds at Home

After many false alarms, a nesting pair of bluebirds finally decided to close escrow and move in. They were indecisive house hunters that kept coming back every month, fly in and out of each apartment, look like they were going to buy and then they'd disappear.

But to my surprise, I saw some grass sticking out of one of the apartments when I was mowing last weekend and then closely monitored and found the shy little birdies coming and going in the mornings and evenings. It's been really hot the last few days, and with no air-conditioning in this upscale apartment built by Dad, the homeowners (dedicated nest sitters) are sitting the nest with their beaks out to catch the occasional breeze.

Awwww how cute!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I'm Back!!

Hi Everyone,

I don't know where the last three months of life have gone! Just a few short weeks after I last posted on the blog, Paul and I found out I am....
We kept it rather quiet for the first trimester. In the meantime, I celebrated my 35th birthday and Paul made me my favorite cake served on Bella and Edward plates! I have been reading him the Twilight Saga books - my favorite tied with Pride and Prejudice. He had to know what I was obsessing about so I insisted he listen every night while I read a chapter or two. He's gotten out of a few nights here and there. We are now almost at the end of the last book are all in anticipation of the release of Eclipse - the movie of the third book. Notice how Paul served me my slice of cake on Bella's face so I had Edward staring at me while I ate.
During the months of February and March, most of the weekends were spent collecting rocks from vacant lots to build this dry-stone wall garden bed for our veggie garden.

Almost all of April and May I was traveling back to back each week on various field projects for work. I told work I could finish up the spring field season but would be out of commission for the rest of my pregnancy after that. Thank goodness! Because my feet are starting to swell along with my belly and field work was getting awkward towards the end. May 20th we left for San Francisco to visit my sister and her boyfriend in Mariposa.
Then we drove down to So. Cal with Heather to visit with the rest of the family and attend our cousin Kaitlyn's wedding.

On the 24th Paul and I headed to Maui for our 5-year-later belated honeymoon! We had such a great time. We rented a beachfront condo for the 6 days. What a view!
We did plenty of snorkeling. That's Paul by the way.
We did some adventure hiking using a guidebook that we had to consult at every turn...
That led us to pools that we had to swim across to get to the next waterfall. We left our clothes stashed in the bushes and had our swimsuits on underneath. Good thing we planned ahead and brought waterproof bags for our camera and guidebook..

We did some less adventurous hikes to some very scenic beaches..

and of course made an effort to see the sunset every day!

It's dinner time, so I will go for now. Bye till next time!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fun in Feb.

Well, it's been another month and we've had snow twice already! We got about an inch or so of snow about 2 weeks ago and there are still small chunks of it melting in shady spots that haven't seen much sun. It's been very cold for here! Then today without much warning, we've just started getting more.

A few days ago we were celebrating Paul's 3... th birthday and wow that's quite something when I think back to when we met and he was a lad at 29.

Dad made us this fantastic bird house for Christmas, so we got it put up last weekend (finally). We were waiting for a non-rainy, non-snowing weekend, and it finally came!

A cute thing about Paul and his toolbelt is that he is relatively new to toolbelt use and so he will put it on with all good intentions, but forget to put things back in the pockets. So the screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, etc. will most likely be spread all over the floor and his toolbelt will be empty by the end of the day.

Ta-da! Isn't Dad talented? I think this is the cutest bird house that ever existed.

Here is an apron I made out of a vintage pillowcase and handkerchiefs. I am starting to make gift baskets with different themes, but the eco-kitchen basket is growing to be my favorite just because of the aprons.

Hope you are all doing well! Have a good rest of February and stay warm!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Family Visit from the UK

Yea! The long-awaited visit from Paul's Mum and Alison had arrived! They came out on November 12th and stayed through Thanksgiving till the end of the month. We had a lot of fun in the two-and-a-half weeks that they were here. I was gone in the field for one of the weeks, so I missed the trip to Charleston, but we did plenty of fun things on the weekend so I could join in.
We went on a lot of fun walks in the woods- some cold days we bundled up...
...and other days were a bit warmer. We had quite a bit of weather variety while they were out.

We took a trip to the mountains near Asheville to the Biltmore Estate to catch the fall colors and have high tea.

The Biltmore tea event is always a nice treat!
The house (and gate house pictured here) was all decked out for Christmas. Paul and I hadn't gone during Christmas time before, so it was neat to see decorated trees and garland in all the rooms.

We spent some time relaxing at home. One of Alison's highlights of each day was getting the mail from our mailbox. She loves that we each have our own mailbox in front of the house.
Thanksgiving was a load of fun too with a nearly full table of English and Southern dishes. Tracy and Elizabeth joined us with some of their favorite traditionally southern Thanksgiving dishes and we did our traditionally English kajillion veggies- what a feast! Notice the hazy look to the picture? The Yorkshire Pudding oil boiled over in the oven filling the house with smoke, setting off the smoke detectors. We had to open all the windows and doors in the middle of a very cold wintry day. By the time this picture was taken, we no longer needed the parkas.

Ah the Renaissance festival! You can't miss this fine event every year. Paul was a good sport on stage as a prop for the Washer Women Show. He was one of two men in the small audience of six (it was raining and very cold -and many people cleared out) so he got pulled up on stage.

Clementine hardly glanced at Alison, if she walked by her, and would go back to preening. But despite Mum's persistence in growing the relationship, Clementine puffed out her feathers and behaved very rudely every time Mum walked by her to the laundry room or garage. We originally thought it was because Mum was always wearing purple, Clementine's least favorite color, but even when Mum switched to brown, it didn't make a difference. By the end of the visit, Clementine hadn't improved her manners towards Grandma. How embarrassing!