Why didn’t I change my last name?

I have been seeing a lot of articles, tweets, and stories lately about women who chose not to take their husband’s last name. When I was out of town this weekend, I had a few friends ask me why I didn’t, and I had a hard time articulating why I wanted to keep Morrison.

By the way, the question does not offend me AT ALL. Some people seem so scared to ask. I really do not care, it’s definitely not the norm so ask away! I really have no clue why someone would be offended by that question.

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Another thing I have noticed, is that when strangers find out that my husband and I have different last names, they often feel the need to explain why they chose to change theirs. Like, “I wasn’t going to but I want the same last name as my kids” or “it was important to my husband” or once “I’m just not super in to the extreme feminist thing.” There’s really no need to explain. My choice not to change my last name is in no way a judgement on women who do. My mom and sister both changed their names, almost all of my dear friends who are married changed their names, etc. etc. etc.

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OK OK…so why did I keep Georgia Mae Morrison? I always knew I wanted to be married someday, I have always wanted a big family, and I never once considered changing my last name. It just never crossed my mind! I like the way Georgia Mae Morrison sounds. Also, when I’m a doctor I want it to be my name on my license. Morrison got me through high school, college, into medical school…and I want to be Dr. Morrison all the way.

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I CARE!!! Also, our kids will take Nguyen as their last name. I guess I am not a sentimental person but it makes no difference to me that we won’t have the same name. I am 70% sure I’ll still pick up the correct children from daycare.

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haha. Finally, if you’re curious, it has nothing to do with the fact that David is Vietnamese and I am white (his last name is Nguyen). If I married a guy with the last name Smith, I still wouldn’t have changed it. It isn’t about disliking the alternative, it’s about really loving and feeling attached to Morrison.

So, that’s all folks! No feminist manifesto, judgement call on women everywhere, cultural differences, or anything like that. I just LIKE my name. I’m Georgia Mae Morrison, someday doctor Morrison, and that’s that!

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Tips for working out with an injury

Ever since I had an L5 stress fracture in my spine that resulted in one of my vertebrae slipping forward slightly, I’ve dealt with flare-ups in back and leg pain. It’s not all the time and I have long stretches where I feel really good, but in the back of my mind I know there’s always the possibility that I might not be able to do what I want physically at some point in the future. This can make staying in shape frustrating. I’ll have a few months where I feel really good, strength train 4-5x a week, do cardio, and really see some “gains.”

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Aaaand then I’ll tweak something, the wind will blow the wrong way, or who-knows-what and I’ll have to take a week off, switch to walking workouts, and “lose progress”. I really had to change my mentality and come to the realization that there is no end goal! I’m not a professional athlete, I don’t depend on my physical strength to support my livelihood, I simply workout to boost endorphins and stay happy. That means I do what I can with what my body is up for on any given day. I’ve developed some techniques to keep from getting frustrated when it comes to workouts.

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  1. When you plan your workout schedule for the week, give yourself options
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I am the type of person where if I have something written down for the day, I feel really guilty if I don’t get it done. Sometimes this translates to doing a workout my body isn’t up for because “it’s written on the planner!!” and causing myself pain. Dumb. To remedy this, I give myself options. Body Pump class OR long walk with pushups after. Goat yoga OR a few laps in a pool. Then I still feel like I accomplished what I wanted (getting some exercise) without hurting myself or feeling guilty for bailing on a scheduled workout.

2. Modify, modify, modify

Sometimes I’ll be in a workout class and the instructor will pull out a move and my body is like:

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OLD Georgia Mae, the dumber one, would be all “omg everyone is watching me they’re going to think I’m a weakling if I don’t look exactly like the instructor… whatev I’ll just push through.” You know who cares what you’re doing in a workout class? NOBODY. Skip the moves that don’t feel right and substitute in ones that do! It is your workout. And if somebody were to be judging you in secret..who really cares?3. Keep in mind that diet is equally important

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No matter what is going on in your life or with your workouts, you can always try your best to eat healthy and avoid taking in too many calories. During the week I cook a lot of lean proteins, a ton of vegetables, whole grains, and snack on dates or apples in between meals. Mentally, this keeps me sharp and alert, and reminds me that there are many ways to focus on your health besides just being in the gym. It also keeps me from gaining weight during the periods in which I can’t exercise as much as I’d like. This does NOT mean depriving or starving yourself because you cannot torch calories at the gym. It DOES mean giving your body the nutrients and building blocks it needs to recover and work efficiently.

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4. Remember that your worth is NOT defined by the number on a scale, the amount you can lift, the miles you run every day, or how long you can hold a back bend. Quit staring at people doing Burpees on Instagram if it makes you sad. There’s a season for everything in life. When you’re spending less time exercising, make it a priority to fill that time with activities that are meaningful to you. Reading, cooking, writing, watching movies that are on your list, volunteering, sleeping even! You are wonderfully made, and the physical stuff you can do is just that…stuff. Don’t put so much importance in it.

Things I’m Loving This Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!! I’d be remiss if I didn’t get a little sappy on this holiday, so feel free to skip the next paragraph.

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Thanks for being the best Valentine I could have ever imagined! You love Santo and me with all your heart and it shows. Thanks for always planning fun outings for us, cooking delicious meals, doing our laundry, keeping our home sparkling, working so hard to support us financially, and being so sweet and affectionate. You’re an amazing husband, son, dog-dad, human. I thank God that he sent me such an incredible teammate every day.

OKAY OKAY YOU CAN STOP RETCHING NOW I’M DONE OKAY. I just have one teeny tip of advice, don’t settle. Find someone who magnifies your strengths and helps you laugh at your weaknesses. Find someone who makes staying in and watching Netflix, grocery shopping, and house-cleaning fun! Somebody you want to hang with every day, because that’s basically what marriage is.

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I should know. I’ve been married for six whole months. I’m essentially an expert, duh.

In honor of love day, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been loving lately! Get it?!

  1. Signature Selects brand Dutch Chocolate Flavored Coffee
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Albertson’s has a whole array of flavored coffees, and this one was on sale the other day so I picked it up. It’s amazing! It has such a rich, chocolatey aroma and it makes the entire apartment smell like a bakery while it’s brewing. I’ll definitely be going back for more.

2. The Rover App

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Above working and volunteering and applying to medical school, making sure that Santo is well taken care of is my number one priority. Every Sunday I write out my schedule including workouts and errands and try to plan as well as I can so that Santo isn’t alone for long stretches of time. When I can’t make it work, Rover comes to the rescue. I’ve found amazing dog walkers on there! They show up on time, walk Santo, send me adorable pictures, and take away my mom-guilt. Highly recommend. (I also have to give a shoutout to my amazing parents who will stop by and say hello to Santo or even walk him if a walker cancels or if I’m just a little extra worried about Santo.)

3. Maybelline BB Cream

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Thanks to the new medication I’ve been taking, my skin looks like a nuclear war zone. This BB cream gives me the perfect amount of coverage without being too heavy or cake-y. I put it on after my lotion and it smooths everything out and covers my bazillion breakouts. Plus it has pomegranate extract, so…yeah.

4. Kiehls Hand Lotion

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My mom put this in my Christmas stocking this year and it has saved my hands this winter. I don’t have hangnails, my hands feel soft and smooth, it lasts through countless hand washings, and smells amazing. I LOVE THIS STUFF. I want to bathe in it, but I can’t afford to.

Also, Lent starts today!! It seems sort of cruel that it would begin on Valentine’s Day, but what can you do? Is anybody giving something up, or adding something? For the next forty days I am: giving up cheese and vowing to write in my gratitude journal every day. I can do this!!!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, y’all! Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you ❤

Contain the crazy

Happy hump day! This week has been an oddly slow one for me. On Monday I shadowed a pediatrician for the day and I absolutely loved it, as I knew I would. Dr. Meyers is an award-winning practitioner and she’s so personable and intelligent, and answered my questions without hesitation. Of course, I came home and immediately told David “yep I want to be a pediatrician.”

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He smiled and said, “mm-hmm okay honey.” I have a tendency to love every speciality I shadow and come home saying “no seriously honey I’m not just saying this I loved (fill in the blank).” I’ll figure it out eventually..first I need to get into medical school! 🙂

Speaking of medicine, I started a new medication this week that is really screwing with my system! I’m exhausted, my joints ache, and I’ve been moody as heck. It’s actually been a good thing that my work schedule is minimal this week because it is allowing me to take plenty of naps and keep my hormone-raging thoughts to myself.

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Thankfully I only have to take this demon-pill for a week and then I move on to something else. Hopefully my body reacts better to the next one.

Since I had the day to myself yesterday, I cleaned the house and then headed to the movie theatre! When I first moved to Missoula and didn’t know many people, I often went to movies by myself. The first time I felt sort of weird, but now it’s something I love to do! Yesterday I watched “I, Tonya.”

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It was amazing. Sometimes movies that are up for best picture are extremely artsy and lacking on any sense of intrigue. This was not one of those movies. The writing, cinematography, actors’ performances, and soundtrack were incredible. Some people have complained that the movie is trying to make an excuse for Tonya Harding, but I thought it did a good job of showing both sides of her character. She lived through abuse from her loved ones and the figure skating community, but she also refused to take any responsibility for mistakes she made. I loved it! I might go see another movie this afternoon. 😀

Last night after dinner we went to visit Ly and set up his new TV for him. Santo came along and snuggled right in with his grandpa.

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Ly sleeps a lot so he and Santo get along swimmingly. The other residents love saying hi to Santo too, so I’m really thankful that Ly’s facility allows us to bring him along.

Today is another low-key day! I’m bringing a casserole Kai-man and his family. He had his first surgery on Monday and they’re still at the hospital. I was praying for them on Monday morning and I felt God saying “I gave you two perfectly good hands didn’t I? You have plenty of resources to share don’t you? Go do something to make their lives easier.”

Other than that I see a nap in my future, a hot bath for my aching knees, and some reading! Have a wonderful hump-day everybody!

A cold is a full-time job + Staffordshire Terrier

I am babying myself WAY more than usual with this cold of mine because next week I have some big things on the agenda and I NEED TO BE WELL. Usually I continue my normal routine and the cold lingers and lingers….but not this time. I am coming for you, cold.

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With that being said, going into battle with a cold looks a lot like being EXTREMELY lazy. The last couple days I’ve been drinking hot tea with lemon, reading, napping, taking my temperature, and watching tv. That’s about it. I finished “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Wednesday. I thought it moved pretty slowly but there were always some hints of suspense that kept me going. Well that and Samira Wiley. She’s my girl.

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She’s so charismatic and such a wonderful actress. When she wasn’t on the screen I missed her. I hope she has an even larger role next season.

In other exciting news, we got the results back for Santo’s DNA test!! He is a pure bred American Staffordshire Terrier. I knew he had SOME staffy in him, obviously, but I really didn’t expect him to be pure bred.

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Must be why he’s so terrifying. It does say in their description that they often don’t do well with other dogs, which is very true for Santo. They’re described as stoic, loyal, cuddly, and people-pleasers. Yep, yep, yep, and yep! They’re one of the dog breeds that has the highest rate of abuse, which breaks my heart. I’m happy Santo found us and we can spoil him and heal the wounds he had to endure.

I also think there’s nothing wrong with being realistic about the characteristics of your dog. Staffordshire Terriers are wonderful animals. I love Santo with ALL my heart. However, I’m not going to pretend that he could never hurt a fly because when he gets scared by another dog or feels like another dog is threatening his people, he CAN get aggressive. I learned that the hard way and now I just keep him out of those situations.

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Recognizing your dogs strengths and weaknesses allows you to provide an environment in which they can flourish. It’s not fair to anyone to pretend that everything about your beloved pet is perfect. Santo is my old man and I love him so much and I will always do my best to keep him in situations in which his HUGE, loving heart and soul can shine through.

❤ ❤ Now I’m off for a busy busy day. Fighting colds is hard work!! 😉

Sick + New Gigs + Best dessert ever

The past two mornings I’ve woken up as an achy, cold, snot-factory. My sinuses wind down production during the afternoon, but it’s a slow going morning over here.

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My MLK day was quite productive, I must say! Did any of y’all have the day off of work? How’d you spend your three day weekend?

My morning started out on the computer, reading some news and sending in the paperwork I needed to complete for my new volunteer position. I am now a medical concierge for Central City Concern! It’s a free clinic downtown that caters to the poverty-stricken and homeless members of Portland. They’re a wonderful organization and I feel so lucky to be able to help out there. I’ll still be volunteering at Doernbecher Children’s hospital too, of course. I would not trade my time there for anything.

Once the paperwork was all squared away it was time to walk the old man!

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“Less picture. More walking.” -Santo

Anyone who knows Santo knows that he is a notoriously slow walker. We’re talking 0.5 mph here people. However, lately he’s been walking at a normal and (dare I say) rather quick pace! We ran into my mom out on her walk yesterday and she didn’t think it was us from far away because we were moving so quickly. Go, old man, go!

When we got back from our walk it was time to head over to meet the new kiddos and pups I’ll be watching a few afternoons a week!

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Meet Loki. I know. I know. I AM IN HEAVEN. Three afternoons a week I’ll come hang out with Loki and his pup-sister Sadie and their human brother Hudson. The family I used to nanny for every afternoon had to let me go. I mentioned a while ago that their son is struggling with some serious health issues. Due to this his schedule is about to be hectic and the financial burden of his care necessitated a different child-care option. I still go over there one night a week and I love those boys and their parents!

What was supposed to be a half hour meet-and-greet ran an hour over as Hudson’s mom and I talked about all things Doberman, Pit Bull, Portland, and kiddos. I stopped at the grocery store on my way home and ate a quick lunch of Safeway Sushi in the car before visiting Ly.

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Much to my surprise, the parking lot at Ly’s place was absolutely full! It made my heart so happy that family members were spending their days off to go visit their loved ones. It also made it impossible to find a spot to park since there’s no street parking. I quickly stopped in a loading-zone area and ran in to say hi to Ly. I gave him some Spring Rolls, checked in with the nurses about his progress, chatted for a bit, and then ran out to avoid my car getting towed!

When I got home, I spent over an hour working on my Vietnamese before my mom picked me up and we headed to Bridgeport Village for some shopping.

Once I’d gotten what I needed to, I headed home to hang with my husband and pup! We munched on baked cod and roasted veggies and then settled in to watch an episode of Westworld. WE ARE HOOKED.

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I had a bowl of these for dessert. Ok ok..I had TWO bowls. They’re dangerously good. Proceed with caution. And stretchy pants.

Have a wonderful Tuesday, my friends!!!!

Welcome Home, Ly

We got a LOT done this January, y’all. It’s been a wild ride. We have been out of town every weekend since New Years! Let me update you a little bit on what’s been going on!

LY IS HERE!

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David’s dad has lived in a memory care facility in San Diego, California for the last couple of years. We knew we wanted to get him to Portland as soon as possible, so we’ve been working on that process for months now. Well, the weekend of New Year’s Eve we finally got to fly down and bring him home. He’s living in a beautiful facility 5 minutes from our house. Between David, my parents, and me..someone can go visit him almost every day. AND they let Santo come say hello too!!

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Everyone there is very friendly. They know Ly’s habits already and are extremely welcoming when we come to visit. They keep the residents busy and everyone is out socializing when I come in the afternoons, not isolated in their rooms. It’s been a hard adjustment for Ly so far, but I truly think that once he settles in it’ll be a good change. Plus I’m more motivated than ever in my Vietnamese lessons! He speaks hardly any English so I want to be able to communicate fully with him when I visit on my own.

So that’s the BIGGEST change thus far! He’s coming to our place tomorrow night for some old James Bond movies and Korean food (his favorites). I’m really glad he’s close.

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Between getting him all moved in, flying down to visit Elsa, going to the wedding this weekend, and both working full time it’s been a busy but wonderful month.

What’s new in your lives?? My agenda today is a meeting at 11, filling out some paperwork, visiting Ly, shopping (I need some more grown-up, professional looking clothes), and hitting the gym.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Martin Luther King Jr. day. What an incredible beacon of hope and wisdom. We need to learn from his teachings today and every day.

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Chris and Carol get married!!

David and I are down in La Jolla for a wedding (again!). This is one of his best friends, the weather is stunning, the hotel is magnificent, and we are having a lovely weekend.

Ah, the sun. The sun. Last night was the rehearsal dinner! We had an 8 course Chinese feast. The honey walnut shrimp were my absolute favorite…watch for a recipe on the blog coming up!

This was just the first round.

Eek! One thing I truly appreciate about the food from most Asian cultures is their refusal to waste any part of the animal. In America I feel like we pick off two little sections of meat and leave the rest to rot. Although…this appreciation definitely wasn’t compelling enough for me to take a bite out of the head. 😬😬

I need to update you guys on my life lately. It’s been a wild ride this December/January!! I’ll do a full post about it either later today or tomorrow. Just wanted to pop in and tell you we are having a lovely weekend.

P.S. can anyone read my tea leaves? 😉

Elsa Bean

I spent the weekend in Medford with my sister and her husband to help them spoil our girl, Elsa.

As many of you know, her dilated cardiomyopathy has progressed into congestive heart failure. She’s taking furosemide to help with the fluid on her lungs and besides being very sleepy, she’s doing ok.

When Halley called me and told me the news, I booked my tickets straightaway. Elsa was the first dog we jointly owned and she got us through college with our sanity (mostly) intact. She’s an angel!

She’s the only dog Santo isn’t super terrified of, she lets Hazel pester her endlessly, and most of all she puts up with all of us. 😂

We love you, Elsa!! I’m heading home with a backpack full of dog toys (gifts from my sister to Santo and Hazel), a full heart, and more gratitude than I can express that God let us have Elsa for these last four years.

Portland Children’s Museum

I had the boys for most of the day yesterday, so I made the executive decision that we were going to go out and do some exploring! Our final two destination options were the Ferdinand the Bull movie or the Portland Children’s museum. After much bargaining, discussion, and a few tears (from the boys, not me) the children’s museum emerged as the winner. This place…is INCREDIBLE.

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You guys. I was blown away. I’m pretty sure I was more excited than the majority of the children there. They had a circus exhibit, a room designated to automobiles, a pretend veterinarians office outfitted to the t, a clay-molding studio, an arts and crafts room, a treehouse room, a rock-climbing wall for kids, a water zone, and so much more. It was massive.

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Just getting in some weight training. We stayed there for over three hours and then had to tear ourselves away. If I had children of my own I’d be coming here all. the. time. Their exhibits are rotating too, so the kids won’t get bored of seeing the same things multiple times. The only downside is that it’s a little pricey, $11 per ticket. Although when you consider that it’s only a few more dollars than a movie, and it honestly could be an all-day affair, it doesn’t seem so bad.

After dropping the boys off, I headed home for a drizzly walk with the old man!

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We went for over an hour at a pretty fast clip. Santo’s walks have been abbreviated the last couple of days so I owed him a good one. When we got home he ran inside and howled at me before snuggling up with his fox in bed. I think he’s a happy camper.

I had some time before I needed to leave for my workout class, so I settled on the couch with my book! I’m still on Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the Outlander series. It started out pretty slow and I was sort of disappointed that it didn’t have the same urgency as the first, but it’s picking up now and I’m having to force myself to go to sleep at a reasonable time. Just proves to me yet again to never give up on a book too early!

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I finished off the productive portion of my day at a Bodyworks class. It’s my favorite workout class! I think I’ve talked about it before. High reps, low weights, full body workout. It leaves me feeling energized and strong. I felt a little bit of a twinge in my hamstring (sciatica?) when I left, so I iced it last night. I don’t feel anything today but I’m taking a rest day just in case and I’ll continue icing. It’s taken me way too many days on the couch with a bottle of ibuprofen in hand to learn that it’s better safe than sorry.

I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday! Christmas is 6 days away!! Xoxo.