{Newlywed: A State of Mind}

It's the wekeend, y'all!  Praise the LORD we made it through another week.  This week felt especially long since I only had a 3 1/2 day week last week.  Nevertheless, it's Friday.  WOOHOO!


A coworker asked me yesterday if I was still a newlywed to which I responded, "Yes!  Well sort of!  It's been a year on September 1st."  He responded by saying, "Well, I guess you're not really a newlywed really, maybe?"  I countered with, "Well, I'm going to be a newlywed forever.  It's really just a state of mind, right?"  He agreed and noted he liked my response.

This made me look at my blog yesterday under the "About Us" section and it got me thinking about the title of my blog and what's written in the About Us section.

"We're newlyweds embracing our exciting new adventure, trying new recipes, loving our border collies, making new friends, trying to be crafty, learning to see each other through kind and patient eyes, and to be joyful in all circumstances."

Is it wrong to want to stay NewlyNabors forever?  Because honestly, I'm kind of thinking there would be nothing wrong with having a newlywed mindset forever.  Think about it.  Everything is an adventure from grocery shopping to pet adoption to rearranging your home, sharing an income (hey, I didn't say every adventure is fun), planning a future, finding a church home, trying recipes, finding your favorite local spots, taking trips together, and the list goes on and on.  I like the fact that I almost daily learn something new about Ryan, about myself, about what I want out of life, and I like knowing that Ryan and I will share all of that.  When I talk about college, some of the sweetest memories I have include Ryan because that's where we started.  What a gift that my whole life will be like that from September 1st, 2012 on... perhaps really September 1, 2007.

It seems like there's a lot of innocence that comes with being newlyweds, too.  You have moments of pure bliss, you are careful to say things that might offend one another, you accept some things that later in your marriage might drive you crazy (cleanliness, sharing the workload around the house, etc), you are mortified that you share a bathroom and do your best to make sure neither of your bodily functions, monthly needs, or anything that you'd rather remain a mystery come to light, you laugh at things together, you are forced to learn one another's preferences like who likes to talk in the morning and who will glare at you if you speak to them before 15 minutes of silence, and you apologize and seek forgiveness quickly.

"Don't go in the bathroom!"
Why can't things just stay so simple?  At some point or another, the innocence and newness of the marriage, and the honeymoon stage, seems to disintegrate right before your eyes.  I know I'm guilty of letting things from my day get in the way of seeing Ryan through kind and patient eyes.  Is it fair?  Absolutely not.  Do I regret some of the biting things I say when I'm tired?  Absolutely.  I even embarrassingly acknowledge that I have had more tolerance, patience, and compassion for strangers some days than my own spouse.  #fail  So, why not allow myself to live in the constant state of seeing him through the eyes of love and compassion?  Because I am an imperfect person who needs a heaping dose of grace on a daily basis.  I'm sorry Ry, I'm trying, and I love you.
I also know that my imperfect self is in need of a perfect Savior I have to choose daily to pick up my cross and follow.  I was telling my sweet friend Adair this morning that I genuinely feel like a kinder, more patient and understanding person when I spend time with Jesus.  Additionally, I have to continue to remind myself that my happiness does not come from Ryan.  Yes, he makes me unbelievably happy, but at times when I am disappointed in our relationship or when I let my emotions run my day, I strive to remember that my joy comes from Christ alone.  I mentioned this quote before when I talked about communicating respect, but I love it so much I want you to hear it again.

"In contrast to happiness stands joy.  Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God's love and work in our life - that He will be there no matter what.  Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ."

Here's to deciding to remain a NewlyNabors forever.  No one said it had to last just one year.


{Salmon Cakes & Basil Parmesan Orzo}


HI!

The NewlyNabors started the week with a visit from Papa McD for dinner on Monday.  Papa McD has been away for a while, so I wanted to welcome him home with a delicious home cooked meal, and since the last two times he had come over we had delicious chicken & dumplings, I wanted to cook something anything other than that for him and my sweet husband who has been subject to my chicken and dumplings, though delicious as they are, far too frequently lately.  Besides, it still feels a little like summer, so I thought something fun and summery might be a good way to go this time.

I decided to browse my lovely Pinterest board, {Tounge Tasties}, that has gone untouched for far too long.  On it, I found a link for 8 salmon recipes and also a recipe for Basil Parmesan Orzo. (The orzo recipe is from Tasty Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman's.recipe website where people from kitchens all over can add recipes.  That's where I got the Homemade Chicken & Dumpling recipe too!)  I decided both sounded pretty light and moderately healthy.  From the delicious selection of 8 salmon ideas, I selected Salmon Cakes.  Okay people, don't turn your noses up just yet.  My Dad loves crab cakes, so I figured it couldn't be so bad to use salmon instead of crab and end up with great results.  I should have thought though that the key to good crab cakes is the spice or peppers that they use in the cakes, and frankly bell peppers upset my stomach.  I pretty much say no to peppers, much to my husband's dismay.  Nevertheless, they ended up being pretty tasty, and they only took 25 minutes to make which was a win in my book!  The orzo took about the same time, and I sauteed some squash to add an additional vegetable to the meal (there is chopped baby spinach in the salmon cakes).

Salmon Cake Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 2 pouches (6 oz each) skinless, boneless, pink salmon
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters Original
  • 1/2 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1) Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a medium bowl.  Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 1/2-inch thick.

So, the only salmon I could get at Wal-Mart (first bad call of the evening - get your fresh fish elsewhere) was a bag of frozen salmon in pouches, but they were pink, skinless, and boneless, so I figured it would work.  To thaw the salmon, I put the pouches in a bowl of cold water and let them sit until I needed them to add them to the mixture.  They need to be able to separate into pieces rather easily since you're just combining them into your salmon cake mixture.  Second error of the evening, since I was wearing white pants I was being particularly careful about avoiding getting the can of tomatoes on me at all, including juice splatters, so I didn't exactly drain the tomatoes as much as they needed.  If you're going to make these bad boys, DEFINITELY drain the can completely.  Too much excess liquid made the cakes hard to keep together.  I did use more breadcrumbs and that helped to soak up the excess a little.  Yes, very little, but some.  Additionally, I used unseasoned bread crumbs because we had two packages of Panko BreadCrumbs in our pantry and I wanted at least one box gone.  Thus, there wasn't an overwhelming amount of flavor in the cakes.  Though it doesn't call for salt and pepper, or even garlic powder, I should have added a little something something to make them more flavorful.  Finally, I made my patties a litttttttttle too large and they cooked out the outsides, but had a hard time cooking thoroughly in the center.  We ended up having to put them in the oven to finish the cooking process.

2) Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook salmon cakes 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn carefully and cook 4 to 5 minutes more or until cooked through.

I assume all of this would have been a little easier had I actually followed my instructions thoroughly.  They ended up tasting a little fishy which I primarily top off to them being frozen initially, as well as the lack of additional seasoning on my part.  I also think a nice sauce would have been a good addition to the cakes, but I couldn't figure out what people normally eat with their crab cakes.  Horseradish?  yuck.  Lemon butter sauce?  yum.  Garlic Aoili?  YUM.  I'll have to try something with them next time.  If you try these and have a good sauce buddy, holla atcha girl in the comments section.

This is what they were supposed to look like.  Mine looked a little different, but still tasty!
The orzo was a piece of cake!

Basil Parmesan Orzo
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cup Orzo
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken - it was yummo!)
  • 6 tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1) Melt the butter over medium heat.
2) Add the orzo and saute for a few minutes, until the orzo starts to get golden brown.
3) Add the broth and cover to simmer for 20 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed.

Keep an eye on this part.  I noticed after 15 minutes my broth was all gone and my orzo was starting to stick and burn on the bottom.  Don't be a victim of burned orzo!

4) Remove from the heat, add the basil and Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.


TOLD YOU!  Easy peasy.  You didn't believe me did you?

All the while, I had cut my squash into thin circles and tossed them lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, covered them, and let them steam on low while I made the rest of the dinner.  They looked kind of scary because I think I let them steam for too long, but they tasted excellent, so absolutely no one minded.  (I also made sure I collected most of the scary ones on to my plate.)

I think I'll try to make these again when I can get fresh salmon, or maybe I'll experiment with smoked salmon sometime since Ryan doesn't like fish that tastes "fishy".  We enjoyed the evening catching up with Papa McD, playing with the border collies, and the boys watched a little Monday Night Football to end the evening while I made our kitchen sparkly.

Have you tried any new easy weeknight meals recently?  Share them with me!  But remember... no peppers!


Happy Thursday, friends!

#puppyproblems

Sweet Oakley Mae, what are we going to do with you?


To say that Oakley had a rough couple of days would be an understatement.  Let's set the stage, shall we?  It all started Thursday evening when lots of rain rolled in (praise! -- I love thunderstorms and we needed it!).  The puppies are usually pretty good with thunderstorms though neither of them really like to spend much time out in the rain doing their business, can you blame them?, despite their fond affection for water, but they go.  Point of Clarification: Jetta always goes.  Oakley goes most of the time.

We always seem to have a little more trouble with accidents when it rains for what I've narrowed down to be three reasons.
1)  Oakley does not enjoy going potty in the rain.
2)  When it rains we have to take the girls out in the front because the backyard becomes a mud pit, thus Oakley has to be on a leash.  Why?  Because homegirl cannot be trusted off a leash, except at the lake house where she's mainly allowed to run free because her angel sister always comes when she's called, making Oakley follow.
3)  I'm fairly certain Oakley looks and listens for any reason to bark... which distracts her from the main goal of pottying.

Even if it's rained only for a short period of time, we end up having to take the girls in the front for several days.  The trees we love so much in the backyard aren't overly conducive for letting the copious amounts of sunlight needed in to dry the swamp up.  Here's where poor Oakley has some trouble.  Oakley can't be trusted outside the fenced in walls of the backyard off of a leash because she has a tendency to take off in the direction of barking dogs, dogs she can see, people walking, etc.  Unlike Jetta, whom you can call off and stop her in her tracks, Oakley pretends she is deaf.  Pottying in the front proves challenging because while she can't quite take off like she could unleashed, she trolls and listens for anything that might need her immediate attention, taking her focus off her main objective... or our objective I guess.  If nothing is happening and she can't see anything, we make it out unscathed and with full success, but if something catches her attention it's so hard to reign her back in to focus.  Maybe this is the German Shepherd in her.

Secondly, Oakley is persnickety about where she does her business.  Seriously... the yard is not that big; just pick a spot!  If you don't give her enough time on the leash you might as well forget about no accidents... which is not fun to consider while you're standing in the rain slowly getting more and more soaked.

When we're not having to mess with rain, Oakley is better and we accidents are few and far between.  Praise the LORD for that.  However, she barks... a lot.  She'll look out the window, at nothing in particular sometimes, and just bark her little furbaby head off.  This weekend I put her in the crate twice because she WOULD NOT STOP BARKING at the little kids across the street playing in the bounce house.  Apparently, Oakley is a fun Nazi, or maybe she wanted to join, but instead OM spent some quality time in the crate with the bedroom door shut where she continued to, you'd never guess, bark.

When we go on walks she tends to do the same thing.  She does really great, especially if I keep her a little behind Jetta so she doesn't tug as much, until we pass barking dogs, dogs in their yards, people with dogs, people without dogs, tiny humans, etc.  True story, this happened on Friday evening after the girls had a long day inside due to the rain and were getting pretty rambunctious, we went for a walk.  Both girls wear harnesses which started when I began running with Jetta, Pre-OM days.  I felt badly about tugging on Jetta's neck when she would stop to smell things on our runs and decided it was better to avoid pulling on that sweet girl's neck at all.  Thus, the harness.  We decided a harness was a good bet for Oakley too, especially if her walrus sized paws were any indicator of the size she would evolve in to, it would save both her, and us, from getting hurt. 

Anyway, Oakley still has a little trouble with being on the leash and going around trees.  She's gotten the hang of it for the most part except when, you guessed it, she becomes distracted which happens a lot near the park since people are always there playing soccer or softball.  We hadn't had a tree incident in quite a while, and I figured with such few people out due to the weather we wouldn't have one then either, but nevertheless, Oakley Mae saw a 3 on 3 soccer match happening and wanted to be in on the fun so she tugged as hard as she could to get over.  When she saw she could go no further she went around the tree and started to trot in the direction we were headed which was problematic because she was now wrapped around the tree.  In a effort to help OM learn, we've been tugging on the leash on the other side and walking towards the trees in hopes she'll go around.  OM was not in the mood for this and decided instead to pull herself completely OUT of the harness.  I kid you not, folks.  Gleefully she ran over and interrupted the soccer game and then upon my calling her to come back came back.  Thankfully I grabbed her collar because she was trying to dart out of my grasp.  What a turd!

Lastly, our sweet baby border collie loves to jump.  We have tried kneeing her (lightly, I promise) in the chest, turning our backs to her when she jumps, spanking her with the rolled magazine, etc, to no avail.  Spanking her, yelling at her, and putting her in the crate only make me feel like a lousy parent, and she doesn't seem like those things really impact her all that much.

Needless to say, we are scoping out puppy training courses this week!  Homegirl needs some obedience lessons to match her sweet personality.  She really is a sweet girl, and she's still a puppy so I know some of the obedience should come with age.  She is also an excellent snuggler, and she's cute as all get out.  The other night I drew a bath and walked away to check on laundry while the tub was filling.  When I came back Oakley Mae was standing in the tub, water to her shins (if dogs have shins) drinking the hot bath water.  It was so stinking cute I couldn't be mad!  She hopped right out and waited for me to wipe her paws, then walked away like "nothing to see here, people".  Heart melted.



Know of any awesome places to get this Marley-&-Me-Wannabe trained?  As much as I love the girl, I do not want to write a book about our lives together later called "Maybe We Should Have Named you Marley".
Yes, Oakley would totally do this.

{1 Year Since "I Do"}

This post is quite overdue, but since I played on Ryan's camera over our anniversary weekend/Labor Day weekend I was hoping to get some of the pictures from the camera off to upload.  I'll try later tonight.  I'm quite the photographer... not, but it is fun to shoot with Ry's camera.  It is so nice!

The first picture I took, and probably my best of Emma Jean, Brittany's beagle.  #regalbeagle


My favorite picture.

Sweet Gabi




Y'all, we have been married a year!


HOLY COW!  Time flies, but I'm not complaining at all because it was a pretty wonderful year!  My mind is just blown that we have already been doing this song and dance for 365 days.  Not only that, but September 1st also marked 6 years of being together.  I cannot believe I have loved Ryan for 2101 days (2111 now)!

We decided to celebrate our long 1 year weekend at the lake which is one of our favorite places to be, so Friday evening we headed down there.  I had embarked on a huge undertaking for his 1 year anniversary gift.  Since traditionally you give paper on your 1st anniversary, I decided to write 365 Reasons I love, appreciate, and respect Ryan on separate sheets of paper and put them in a mason jar.  I enjoyed having to be creative and getting out of the, "I love your eyes", and "I love you because you're smoking hot" types of reasons, because while those reasons are totally true, and they do make me love him more, the things I came up with after came from a lot of thought about the things I truly admire about my husband and make me love him more than I thought I could.  Some of my favorites from the 365 gems were, "I love that you always try to make me better, even when I am resistant", "I love how you always dig for money to give the homeless.  You are compassionate.", "I appreciate all the nights you've gotten up to let the border collies out, especially when you knew I was tired." "I love having Nabors on the back of my jerseys.  Thanks for letting me steal your last name.", and "I love that you have vision and can see the potential in things."  I feel that while the gift itself may seem kind of insubstantial to an outsider looking in, I think, and hope, Ryan appreciates the genuine love and respect I have for him, and that if he ever begins to doubt, or I fail at communicating that, or he just wants to start his morning off with a smile, he has written proof of the things I am thankful and love him for.

Long story short, the gift took a lot more time than I had anticipated it taking and we were late heading to the lake which Ry didn't totally mind since he was drafting his players for Fantasy Football in the meantime.  "I am creative, I like to write, I love to doodle, I love my husband, this will be easy", I would think to myself, but several weeks of deciding what I wanted on the slips of paper, cutting out 365 said strips of paper, writing down 365 reasons on strips, getting "the claw" from gripping different pens and markers for hours on end takes a little more time than I originally thought.

THE CLAW
When we finally got to the lake, we all, including the border collies, we grateful to have a weekend to relax and celebrate.  The Newly Nabors celebrated with Mama and Papa Nabors at the first Baylor football game of the season, hitting all our favorite Waco spots, as many as we could anyway, and ending with a victory over Wofford.  Woot Woot!

On Sunday we exchanged gifts and Ry loved his "love notes".  For paper, he gave me a custom wall map that has different colored pins for dream locations, places we've been, planned destinations, where our ancestors are from, and so on, and is titled "Nabors Family Travels".  It is framed is going to look so good when we finally get it on the wall!


Ryan's parents got us a gorgeous Howard Miller clock that reminds Ry of his childhood.  Mama and Papa Nabors were given one for their wedding from Mama Nabors' parents so they wanted to give us one as well.  Y'all it is seriously beautiful!  I've gotten used to the ticking and chiming too, like Ryan said I would, and I realized I don't even really notice when we're at his parent's house.  It just becomes part of the noise of the NewlyNabors home. :)


The Ewings, and more of the Nabors clan joined us for food, lake festivities, and more celebrating.  I got to snap lots of pictures of lake puppies and lanterns that we lit off later in the weekend.  I'll have to put them up when I upload the pictures from Ryan's camera on to my computer, if that ever happens since my dinosaur laptop memory seems to always be full despite my efforts to move things to an external hard drive.





Oakley said wait for me!



Pretty Jetta Belle



"&& they're the three best friends that anyone could have."

She's a beauty, and definitely a sheep dog.

Little Miss Quelle


Oakley sunbathing



Sweet Jetta girl



His initials.  Our wedding date.

Silby Baby

Aspen came to play!

Buddies

Did someone say frisbee?

#Boom there it is

Get it girl









The weekend was a pretty great celebration of the year we've had, but to my sweet husband I can't sum it up any better than I did on Facebook on our anniversary.  All my love.

"6 years ago today a sweet man asked me to be his girlfriend on a Baylor swing and I fell hard for him. 1 year ago today I said "I Do" to the same man and life has proven to be sweeter than I could have ever imagined! Ryan Nabors, it has been a whirlwind year laced with love, compassion, trials, and forgiveness. I promise to continue seeing you through kind and patient eyes, and to serve our Lord alongside you wherever we are. Here's to 1 year down, and forever to go. I love you!"

{9.1.12)



All right, this was my first shot with photography.  What did y'all think?  Please let me know below!
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