A [Very] Happy New Year!

Aaaaand just like that, 2017 is gone. 

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This past year will go down forever as one of my favorites, and I think the reason is pretty self-explanatory. Regardless, I will use a series of gifs and photos to explain most accurately what 2017 meant to me; the things I'm grateful for, the experiences had, and the ways things will never be the same. 

First of all, this is obvious:

June 4, 2017 - Morgan and I joined forces, for good and forever. #OneMoMorrison

June 4, 2017 - Morgan and I joined forces, for good and forever. #OneMoMorrison

2017 marks the start of an era where I always have someone to lean on; my very own Scottie Pippen.

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Family has been a huge blessing that I'm grateful for. Check it:

I'm thankful for my mother's love.

I'm thankful for my mother's love.

I'm thankful for my father's love (and his excessively generous genetic contribution).

I'm thankful for my father's love (and his excessively generous genetic contribution).

Like I said, family is dope. 

I'm still not done with this whole family growth thing either. I don't know that there will be another year that I have as many additions to what I call my family (due to the little shindig on June 4). The crazy thing is that we weren't even done growing after the wedding! 

My newest little dude Lincoln Jay Vliet was born August 14. He's pretty chill so far. Not much of a conversationalist,  but he cool doh.

I'm also grateful for God's protection this past year. Not just for me, but for my family, Morgan, and her family as well! We had a little scare with this little guy a few weeks after he was born. 

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We've been fortunate, though, that God has our back better than Tim Duncan has Durantula's.

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I loved 2017, but I don't want to ever do it again. I'm ready for new adventures! And I'm pumped to jump into whatever they may be with this little lady. 

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As you close out 2017, head into 2018, I wish you nothing but blessings and I hope it is 100% EPIC. 

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10/11/17 : Feelin' Blessed!

There are so many things to look forward to right now!

This weekend I'm going up to MN for the alumni weekend at my Alma Mater, Maplewood Academy. I love that school, I love the town, I love the people, and most of all, I want to play in the alumni basketball game and make sure the high school team doesn't win. 

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Then next week I'll be spending in Florida with my wife (half for business, half for fun!). There's some guaranteed relaxation time in there at SOME point. Regardless, Imma get mine (rest, I mean). 

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At the same time, I'm working on some exciting new projects at Union College that actually make me enjoy getting up in the morning! I rock into the office like this daily. 

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That's all just October!! 

In case you were wondering, marriage is still the coolest thing in life. My wife is awesome, she's super hot, she's super smart, and she's nice to me. Four days ago she said, "I wonder which of us will get really sick first, to the point where the other person has to take of everything..."

She's super sick today. To which I say...

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Just kidding... it actually makes me feel horrible every time I hear her sniffle. So please, if you're reading this, shoot up a prayer for that lady because she has midterms and grad school has her feeling stressed. 

Did I mention the NBA starts in one week? 

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

9/3/17 : One Year (Engagement) Anniversary

A year ago today was easily one of the best days of my entire life. I had my dreams of how I would ask Morgan, some more elaborate and spectacular than others. I think the most ridiculous pipe dream of a proposal was a flash mob in the street in front of the Disney castle at Magic Kingdom with Cinderella escorting her to the top of the tower where Tinkerbell flies out of. I'd be waiting there with a Mickey Mouse Ring Pop. 

Ultimately, I just wanted to surprise Morgan. We had talked enough about it that I knew I had to do it sooner than later because otherwise she'd start being on high-alert. Here's a few things to know about our engagement story. 

1) When Morgan and I first started getting to know each other, we began creating a list of things that we wanted to experience together. It was silly things like watching a certain movie that was important to one of us, or a fun road trip to our grandparents house. The reason this list is important is because something Morgan added to the list made me aware that she was interested in me: romantic, truck-bed stargazing. We checked many items off the list, but truck-bed stargazing never got checked off, even 3 years into dating.

2) Morgan is very allergic to peanut butter, but she loves almond butter.

3) Morgan spent a year in Africa as a student missionary right in the middle of our relationship and the relationships she made while there are some of the most special relationships I think she will ever have. She LOVES those kids from that orphanage. 

4) Morgan loves family. 

5) When I asked Morgan to be my girlfriend, I wrote a song to sing that ends with "Will you be my girrrrllll....friend." 

Here's the story!

So I used my album release party as a reason to get my family in town without raising any suspicion. I "impulse" bought a constellation projector, and my roommate conveniently left his Ford Ranger at our apartment. So I convinced Morgan to go truck-bed stargazing with me in a good friend's garage/shed. I remember on the way there Morgan realized that I didn't have a power cord for the projector. I don't know how I changed the subject, but I got sweaty with anxiety while I distracted her. 

We laid "under the stars" for about 15 minutes, and then I stumbled around in the dark trying to find a switch for some Christmas lights that my friends had left out after a "photoshoot or something...." I brought Morgan over there, turned on the lights and there was a TV on a stand there, where she watched this video. 

 

Then, this happened. 

"Is this REAL?!"

"Is this REAL?!"

After she said yes, I went over and opened the garage door which had BOTH of our families on the other side. We all had a grand time together, eating smores and ice cream!

That's the story of one of my happiest moments I've ever experienced in my entire life. Now we're married, and it's still awesome. 

8/18/17 : White Coat Ceremony

First of all, I missed a day again. If you want to know why, read my blog from last Friday as it still applies to yesterday. I just straight crashed on the couch last night WAY earlier than I usually go to bed. I'm starting off the day with some much needed rest though!

Yesterday was the last day of Morgan's new student orientation into the doctoral program of Occupational Therapy at Creighton University. I'm so excited for her, but I know she's super nervous about it all, especially certain classes like neuro-anatomy. 

On the last day, they do the Ceremony of Professionalism... which most other places just call a white coat ceremony I think? There were about 350 other new students starting either Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Pharmacy, and they each had their names read as they put on a fancy little white coat. 

The OT's were first, and Morgan was in the second row, so it started off with a bang, and then I played some games on my phone or made jokes with her dad for an hour. Shockingly, only like 5 students got any kind of cheer or applause from their families in the audience... people were WAY too serious. I guess that's why they call it a professionalism ceremony? 

Anyways, here are some photos. The clearer ones are from Dave (Morgan's dad) on his Samsung,  which I'm sure he'd be happy for me to share with you. The others were very kindly taken for us by a friend I ran into randomly that was on the other side of the auditorium from us. Thanks Chelsea!

I'm proud of my wife! She's gonna make an awesome OT in 3 years, so watch out. 

8/17/17 : A Home

I remember the first time I prepared to live "on my own". It was a few weeks before college, and my mom took me to Target to try to help me get the right things to make my dorm room feel cozy. She tried convincing me that pillows and comforters that matched my dishtowels would be a good idea. So I went red and black with everything to match the Union College Warriors, the basketball team I hoped to soon be playing for. 

I'm thinking back to then because it was pretty much exactly 7 years ago that I was moving into the dorms, exploring my freedom, and going out on my home. It was also pretty much the last time I truly lived in my own "home". Ever since then I have lived in a shared, strangely decorated dorm room (because I wouldn't let me mom help for real), I spent a year in Australia, then I moved back, new dorm room with less stuff in it, then an empty dorm room while student teaching before going back and finishing up at Union in an apartment with my buddy Curt. 

The next couple years I spent living with a combination of Curt, his brother Dan, their cousin Jake, my cousin Zach, and Jake's brother Brett. It was a blast! I love all of those guys, and they were amazing roommates. However, as you can imagine, rooming with 2-3 college guys lends itself more towards a living space than it does a home. 

Now here I am, a couple months into marriage, and my wife knows how to make a home. I remember going furniture shopping with her the first time and it was TOUGH. I didn't understand why little knick-knacks were important for decorating. I couldn't tell the difference between all the different gray upholstered chairs. Now, when I look around the different rooms in our house, everything makes sense. She is extremely particular about each item and where it goes, how its positioned, and while I used to think I cared, I've learned that the only thing I really care about is that she feels supported to do her thing. 

Because its amazing. Whether she wants the white, fluffy pillows or blush dresser drawers with crystal knobs, I don't care because when I come home, I instantly relax. She has made our house into a home.

Maybe the difference is ambiguous to you, or your definition of the terms house and home are different from mine. If so, let me explain. When I used to live in an apartment with my dudes, I didn't necessarily look forward to spending time there. I mainly just looked forward to my bed after long travels and many different hotels, and a routine filled with familiarity. NOW, I literally can't wait to go home after work. I enjoy waking up and in every single room there are several places that I am comfortable sitting, working, reading, watching tv, drinking coffee, and playing keyboard! I constantly want to have people over to host and entertain them, because I want them to experience the same carefree relaxation in a cozy environment that I get to experience daily. I used to only want to have people over if my roommates weren't using the tv. 

Since I work at a university I have been watching freshmen moving in all week, carrying mini-fridges up stairs after shopping at Target for various necessities. I think back to when I left my childhood home and I praise God for all the experiences I've had ever since... but I am especially grateful for Him giving me a super sexy roommate and our very own home. 

Day 38: NBA + Mawwiage

I think that relating funny NBA gifs to mawwiage is becoming one of my favorite things to do. So here's my small, window's view update on married life.

 

Sometimes, I complain that our AC is always set to 75 because I like it at 72. When I get frustrated because I'm feeling too hot, this is Morgan's solution for me. 

Sometimes, I complain that our AC is always set to 75 because I like it at 72. When I get frustrated because I'm feeling too hot, this is Morgan's solution for me. 

Here, you can clearly see me reacting to Morgan telling me she needs to lose weight. "From where?!"

Here, you can clearly see me reacting to Morgan telling me she needs to lose weight. "From where?!"

This is exactly how it goes down if I get in bed and haven't brushed my teeth yet. 

This is exactly how it goes down if I get in bed and haven't brushed my teeth yet. 

All in all, marriage is still awesome! We're lovin' it!

Day 34+35: Oops

I missed Sunday again. BUT I did get a lot done!

My parents came into Lincoln on their to Omaha for a conference, so we got to spend Saturday night and Sunday morning with them! My dad picked up a sweet, used theater sofa for us in Denver, and we moved it into the basement. Then we had some leftover pasta that Morgan made, some homemade ice cream (which was more like soup), and PEACHES. 

The next morning we went for a bike ride to Panera after having coffee in our little living room, and then my dad decided to help us put some shelves up in our apartment! Morgan helped me clean and reorganize the "theater room" in our basement, and I had a greatly productive music meeting. By the end of the day I was very tired, and COMPLETELY forgot to blog. 

I don't mind, though. It doesn't hurt much that only one person has asked to be on my accountability list, so it only cost me $1 to miss the day; However, the primary reason I don't mind that I messed up my "Year of Blogging" again because I was so busy enjoying my family's company, making a home with my wife, and working on a career I love.

A day spent building a relationship, home, or future is a day never wasted.

 

Day 33: 8 Weeks Ago :)

8 weeks ago today, Morgan and I celebrated our last Sabbath as "single" individuals (according to the state, at least). Our families and friends came together a day before the wedding to worship and eat together, and to just spend time enjoying each other's company. It was truly a blessing to Morgan and I, and one of the highest highlights of the weekend for us. 

Here are some pictures from that day! 

If you want to see more pictures like these, my brother-in-law posted about 250 on flickr, which you can view here

Also, a quick update: marriage is still awesome.

Day 24: The Little Mermaid

Tonight, the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater hosted "The Little Mermaid" as Broadway does it, but all the actors and musicians were local volunteers from L-Town. Morgan was PUMPED. I was pretty excited myself. 

I used to think that stuff was lame, and then an (ex)girlfriend took me for my birthday to see the Lion King Broadway musical in Omaha, NE. It was LITERALLY the most magical viewing experience of my life. 

So, we were gonna skip it because it was 100 degrees out, but we forget to tell everyone we invited, so when we realized it and our friends were already there, we quick scurried over to Pioneer's Park. It was like swimming in a hot tub of air. My shirt was disgusting. Then the music finally started. 

Does anyone know if heat and humidity affect a french horn worse than the other instruments in an orchestra? 

I was just wondering.... no reason.

All in all, it was really fun, and I'm proud of my fellow Lincolnites for putting on a program like that! I really, truly, honestly love living here. I also love living here with Morgan. Its way cooler.

Anyways, now its 11:59 and I gotta get this thing posted. 

Just a reminder, I'm blogging every day for a year. If you want to be on The List, tell me in the comments. If you don't know what The List is, read Day 1.  

Day 22: "The Big Sick"

So tonight, Morgan and I went on our first date (as a married couple)! I feel like it was one of my more creative, grand, romantic gestures of my life; we had dinner and watched a movie. Morgan shot down my hopes of watching Spiderman, but there was a movie showing neither of us had heard of, and after laughing through the trailer, we decided to watch The Big Sick.

The Big Sick is a story about a Pakistani comedian in Chicago that falls in love with a white, American girl, who ends up very sick and in a medically induced coma, fighting to stay alive. I'm not really interested in giving a synopsis, or becoming a movie critic of any sort, so here's why I'm actually writing about it. Also, it was a great movie, if you can get past the many F-bombs. 

Anyways, as we're watching this young man struggle through this stressful, heartbreaking experience, I couldn't help but think momentarily about how I'd feel in that situation. I quickly came to the conclusion that it would crush me. Anything happening like that to Morgan would devastate me. I don't know why I thought so deeply about this in the middle of a movie, but I did, and I realized something that I believe to be true.

Love is an emotion that magnifies all other emotions. The more I love Morgan, the more angry I am when she says something hurtful (not that that has EVER happened). The more I love Morgan, the more sad I am when she's heartbroken. The more I love Morgan, the more annoyed I am when she's annoyed. The more I love Morgan, the more I am happy when she's happy. The more I love Morgan, the more devastated I would be if anything were to happen to her. 

This is kind of morbid for sure, but it just made me think about God for a second. Surely, He could have loved no one more than His own Son. Not only that, but His love is so deep, so selfless, and so perfect, that if this theory of mine is true, then He definitely isn't always just a jolly happy character floating in the sky, much like the way kids imagine Santa in the North Pole. No, as He watches us, and loves us, deeper and deeper each day, His heart breaks more than ours ever could, His joy reaches levels we haven't experienced yet, frustrated, happy, angry, sad...

But the thought that was loudest in my mind, was that Jesus is God's perfect Son. A relationship so perfect with love that literally it destroyed death. Literally. And He had to watch His son get put to death by the very people they were trying to save. The level of heartbreak He must have experienced. Yet He didn't stop it, because that's also how much He loves us, too. 

It's late, I'm tired, probably getting sick, so I hope that made sense, and that the love of our Creator blesses you today!

Day 21: Mawwiage (2)

So Morgan and I have been married a little over a month now, and we still love it. The "honeymoon phase" is still goin' strong, and I want to treat Morgan amazing every day. It's not that we haven't had any spats, or argued pointlessly about something silly, or even just annoyed each other a little bit (I can annoy anyone, soooo....). But overall, every single night I'm happy to crawl into bed with her, and I know she's happy to wake up next to me. 

My question that I've been mulling over this evening is this: Is it possible to treat each other with so much love and respect that we always love being married to each other this much? 

Please answer in the comments, whether you're single or married for 35 years. I'm truly interested in everyone's thoughts on the subject!

Day 20: First Days Apart

Well, Friday marked the first weekend that we spent apart since we were married. I had a concert in Rochester, MN with Azriel and so she got to spend the weekend at home in Orlando with her parents. 

I'm not a fan of being apart. I never have been, but now I ESPECIALLY don't like it. 

But I drove all morning to get home, and she traveled all day to get home, and now we're together so this is all I have to say.

Being married is still awesome and I love it. 

Day 8: 4th of July Nostalgia

Ahhhh, the 4th of July! One of my top 3 holidays, right up there with Christmas and Thanksgiving. There’s so many things that give me nostalgia about this holiday. I suppose my favorite thing about the origin is the fact that it marked the end (ish) of a war. I also must say that I am forever grateful for the sacrifices made by other men and women in order for me to live with the freedoms I have. In the spirit of patriotism, here is a picture of me.

The night "The Bald Eagle" was born. 

The night "The Bald Eagle" was born. 

Back to the nostalgic, feel-good aspects of this day that always make it feel so special. Much to the disgust of my wife Morgan, I am going to make a list as we drive back to Lincoln on I-80.

  • The Food. Goodness gracious, the delicious 4th of July feasts. Watermelon, burgers and hot dogs, potato salads, pop (def: soda – for you heathens), chips, sugar cookies, and cold treats like ice cream and popsicles. Mercy…
     
  • The Fireworks. I love a good fireworks show. Neither Morgan or myself ever got super into shooting off our own big fireworks. However, a long, explosive fireworks show always just makes me feel so excited. I loved the anticipation of sitting in a boat or on a hill, waiting for the first one to light up the sky. It was always fun to watch and rank your favorite types of decorative explosions. My absolute FAVE was sitting close enough for the ashes to float down onto my big, bulbous, blond, bowl-cut covered head.
     
  • The Water. Both of us have spent many of these holidays on the water. For me it was often on a lake, either hanging out on a beach or in a boat. We would wakeboard, ski, kneeboard, or just cruise around, looking at the beautiful houses lining the shore. Whether on a lake, or by the ocean, or getting in water fights, water always has been involved in some way in our celebration (except this one...).
     
  • The Parade. I flippin loved the parade. Not much to it. Just a normal parade in which I would collect candy thrown at me. And I love candy.
     
  • The Outfits. I would plan all year what outfit I was going to wear on the 4th. The more red, white, and blue on my body the better. Jokes. This is definitely a Morgan memory. Every year, she couldn’t wait to pick out something patriotic from Old Navy that she could wear to match her little sister Madison.

    Which leads to our last, most important thing we love about the holiday.
     
  • The Friends and Family. Hands down, this is what takes a fun holiday and makes it glow all warm and perfect in our memories. Nothing can make a day more special than sharing stories, laughs, and love with the people around you. We’re both very grateful to our parents and everyone throughout the years that have done so much to create these incredible memories for us, and I consider myself pretty lucky to have married someone who appreciates so many of the same things I do on a day like this.

Happy Independence Day!

Here's my favorite patriotic arrangement out there. Enjoy!

Day 7: Blended Families

This past weekend, Morgan and I have been celebrating her Great Aunt June’s 90th birthday in the Denver area.  It’s been a great excuse to visit some Union College students at Glacier View Ranch to talk about our alma mater, as well as an opportunity to see my parents and brother’s family.

Morgan’s mother comes from a family with very rich German heritage, so every time they all get together, food happens. Right now, I’m in the living room at Aunt June’s while Morgan is learning (with all her aunties I think… I’m having a hard time keeping track of who’s who!) how to make the famous cheese buttons. Saturday afternoon I got to experience Aunt June’s noodle soup with mashed potatoes and I gotta say, I’m a fan of all this German food stuff.

On our 45 minute drive here, Morgan and I did some talking, and we did some sitting quietly, and we did some singing. It turns out that one of my favorite things about being with her is that it has NEVER been awkward, whether we’re sitting in silence, being goofy, or having serious conversations.

I guess, the main thing I’m getting at today is that one of my favorite things about marriage so far has been blending families. Getting to know Morgan’s side the past few years has been a blast, but it just feels different now!

It kind of reminds me of this little, aqua green, GEO Metro my older sister used to drive. She taught me how to drive a manual transmission in it when I was 15, and I loved it. Not because it was this fast sports car or had fancy features, but because it just held a special place in my heart, and it was fun to drive because any stick shift felt more like a racecar than an automatic!

Me standing by my GEO

Me standing by my GEO

 But then 5th gear went out.
And then 4th gear went out.

So once this car had a max cruising speed of 40mph, completely incapable of driving on highways, it became my daily driver.  Now that it was mine, it became the COOLEST car in the parking lot at school (according to me, and only me most likely). I dubbed it “The Drift Buster”. Those tires were so thin that they just sliced through the biggest snow drifts without ever losing traction. I loved it even more because now it was mine.

Looking at Morgan’s old family pictures, meeting great aunts and uncles, and taking part in their family traditions means so much more to me now, and I think it’s because it isn’t just Morgan’s family. It’s also mine, and they have really made me feel like I am theirs.

Basically -- #blessed, #amirite?

Day 6: Four weeks of bein' married.

Exactly 4 weeks ago today, Morgan and I made a pretty incredible commitment. I remember driving to the airport for our honeymoon the next day and saying to her, "We're locked in. We decided yesterday to be best friends forever, no matter what. We're gonna be living together when we're 65 years old. You're still gonna have to kiss me when my lips are wrinkly and my breath smells like altoids. You can't back out anymore if I accidentally pass gas in public." 

But as we talked more about it, we realized the weight of the decision, and I think it kind of felt like this:

But then again, we're young, in love, and literally just having a blast. So after 4 weeks, we feel more like we're riding into the future carrying the weight of that decision like this. 

So far, we just love being married. I know I've heard Morgan answer the "How's marriage?!" question about as many times as I've been asked it, and she says the same things as me.

We just love being together! Plain and simple.

 

Day 4: Ain't No Mountain High Enough

Press play on this song while scrolling down and looking at this picture of Morgan and I. 

Real love at Glacier View Ranch

Real love at Glacier View Ranch

One issue I have with writing songs is getting to a point where I don't have to be so literal. I could never have written this song (Ain't No Mountain...) because I'd say to myself, "But there probably IS a mountain that could keep me from getting to Morgan... I'm a very unprepared, weak hiker!" 

It's very silly. I couldn't ever write a love song that says, "I think about you all day" because I'd feel like a liar! I don't think about Morgan all day... however, I do think about her a lot. Here's what mine would sound like:

 

 I think about you many times throughout the day.
Sometimes randomly, or cuz you text,
or cuz you call
Sometimes because I need your help
I also think about basketball.

 

But who would wanna listen to that? 

Day 3: A Wedding (Preview)

So I just jacked some pictures from social media, and other friends Facebook's because I'm too impatient to wait until we get the professional photos from our amazing photographer. 

Morgan's lil "show-stoppers" were some terrorizing, adorable goofballs. 

Morgan's lil "show-stoppers" were some terrorizing, adorable goofballs. 

I like it. So I put a ring on it. #ThanksBeyonce

I like it. So I put a ring on it. #ThanksBeyonce

This whole weekend was a blur of straight fun with friends and family. I don't think I've stopped smiling since. I also think my nephews at either donuts or cookies for 48 hours straight. If you were a guest and noticed desserts on the plate with bites taken out, its because they thought they wouldn't get in trouble for just taking just a bite out of one (or 4).

When we get more pictures I'll talk more about this day. For now, here's just a snapshot-taste into the highlight of my life so far!