The Unpopular Opinion: Why I no longer want to live in this America

It was just another morning. Coffee, school lunches, sending my family out the door. And then I sat down and started scanning the news, and once again my heart sank, and my stomach clenched, because the screen was once again telling me a senseless tragedy had taken place. There are tragedies from mother nature we can’t control – hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires –  and then there are the ones we can control; gun violence. mass shootings. more people innocently killed.

I’ve never liked guns. I didn’t grow up ever having one in my home. Before I met my husband (who was a police officer at the time we met), I’d never even held or seen a gun up close. One of the greatest days was the day he left the police department, and his gun left our house. We do not hunt. We do not possess any weapons. That is our personal choice.

This is a link to the 2nd Amendment, the Right to Bear Arms. When this was written way back in the 18th century, it was written in a different time, in an altogether different country. What happens more and more frequently is not what I believe the founding fathers wanted. They would be horrified at the way their law has been interpreted in modern times.

I do not know this country I’m living in, the one where I was born, the one that changes day by day into a place that feels less and less safe. These are Americans getting hold of these guns that serve no purpose but death, and killing children, mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, innocents.

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There is no country in the world that is all-safe. Such a place does not exist. I know this. But there are so many countries that are peaceful. The US ranks at 114 on the Global Peace Index. I want to live in a country that does not allow citizens to own weapons that have no purpose except in war (and maybe not even then). No one should be able to have these guns in their homes. No. One.

I find myself longing to leave America, even though I only moved back here from England a few months ago. I do not want to live in a place where these things do not matter to congress, to my government. They will not outlaw these guns, and therefore they continue the cycle of violence and death. They endorse gun violence by not doing anything to stop it. The majority of Americans support laws that restrict guns. Why won’t they listen? They didn’t listen when the majority said who we wanted to be president. I know they won’t listen now. It must change.

Senseless violence will continue.

I would rather live in a country where the government takes steps to make sure gun violence doesn’t happen.

I want to live in a place that believes all its citizens lives matter. All of them.

 

Reference: Amendment 2 https://nccs.net/online-resources/us-constitution/amendments-to-the-us-constitution/the-bill-of-rights-amendments-1-10/amendment-2-the-right-to-bear-arms

Chart of most and least peaceful countries: https://www.statista.com/chart/9688/the-worlds-most-and-least-peaceful-countries/

Vision of Humanity: Risk Report http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/09/Risk-Report_Web_Final.pdf

Poll of Americans and guns: http://www.pollingreport.com/guns.htm

 

Alaska

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I struggled over a title for this post because (as you will see), how on earth do you describe a trip to Alaska? There are hardly words to set the scene for the beauty and amazing display of nature every time you open your eyes. In fact, I only went through pictures up to the morning of day 3 because I had already marked 20 to share.

Of all the places I’ve traveled, and there have been MANY, a few take top marks like the incredible stark colors of the Scottish Highlands, or the lush greens of the Ireland countryside. Alaska might have top billing. Maybe because it’s fresh in my mind (even though it was already a month ago), I’ve never seen anything so pure and beautiful.

How do you describe that?? We hadn’t even gotten off the ship yet, these were all just things we went by on the our way to our first port stop in Skagway. It’s kind of mind-boggling to see glaciers and icebergs and the stunning colors.

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Chick giving her dad the helicopter front seat side-eye

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Thank you Temsco Helicopter Tours for helping me conquer some fears. Helicopter: check. Done IT. Walked on a glacier: Done THAT. Seriously one of the best days ever, and 100% worth every penny. (Thanks to The Husband for making me do it.)

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Love you Pluto, but wow was it COLD!

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That only takes us to our first stop. Two more to come (a cute little town, big fishing vessels, and SEAPLANES!)

The First Day of School Survival List {for parents}

So, you’ve been waiting all summer for this day, and it’s finally here:

THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!

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Now, admit it, you were all excited the moment the.damn.kids your darlings stepped out the door. I thought it would be nice to post a little something about how us parents should spend the day, this first day of school.

How many climbed right back in here?

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And I’m certain there was quite a bit of this in most houses (as we wake at the unbearable 6 am alarm):

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I know I relished the quiet of my morning cup o’joe. I’m also sure I can’t be the only one still sitting around at 10 am soaking up the silence (and a second cup).

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If you’re looking for things to do today, may I suggest: binge worthy tv –

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Feel free to memorize that. By the way, was I the ONLY one who didn’t know Sunday’s episode was the last of the season??! That’s what happens when you go on vacation!

Other shows to try if GOT just isn’t your thing:

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Who doesn’t love a little classic manners and backstabbing with a smile every now and then?

Or you could always catch up on those books you’ve been hoarding for a rainy day.

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As for me, (and probably most of us, because we do not live in a dream world) I’ll be getting to the laundry leftover from vacation, unpacking the hordes of boxes from moving, spending copious amounts of time in the car buying groceries, finding kids gym shorts, and catering to the craziest dog in the world.

But, if I did have a dream day, it would probably look a lot like above. Just add ice cream.

 

*images via Pinterest

It’s already August?!  Inspiration for the end of summer

I can’t believe that it is already July 30. Or August 7. Where did the summer go?! I’ve spent what seems like weeks shuttling myself and children to doctors offices (nothing wrong, just getting in everything that we hadn’t done while living in London – orthodontist visits, ENT, dermatologist etc. it seriously never ends). August is on track to be more of the same. Throw in horse camp, a week in Alaska, finishing the renovation, finally moving into our house, and school starting; we are already into September.

Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.

The fun things of summer:

The house is somewhat finished, and while it hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as we wanted, it will be beautiful when it is finished (because I will make sure of it!). Focusing on the positives, or at least trying to, and once we move in (um in two days), our household goods from London will be here, and we will be able to try to get a little bit more organization into our lives. And I will have access to ALL of my books and ALL of my clothes again. Yay!

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Alaska. We have only been talking about to Alaska since we first moved to Seattle 5 years ago. The one slight hiccup is we get back from Alaska on Monday and school starts on Wednesday. Both kids will miss their orientations at school, and both schools will be new to them. Not the best timing but when you book a year in advance, things happen.  I’m laughing now because right before we decided to do the cruise, The Husband asked if we should get the travel insurance in case we had to change the date. I said nah…. hindsight, you know?

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Still, it’ll be an awesome trip, and we are doing a helicopter tour to a glacier hike, and as much as the thought of voluntarily getting IN a helicopter terrifies me, I’m. Doing. It.

Because:

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I’m very excited to see something along those lines in person. Plus an entire week with:

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…who we all know is my true love. Mickey Mouse & Alaska & a week of someone else doing the cooking and cleaning: PURE BLISS. The Husband and I are looking forward to having a week off from all the craziness that has been going on the last month or so.

In other news, I finally found a barn to ride at (YAY!) and I cannot wait to get my horse on. When I dropped the Chick off at horse camp this morning, I really really wondered if they would notice if I just snuck into a stall for a few hours. (I’m sure they would have.)

And it was also a reminder of just how big horses are – giGanTiC – and how little my girl is…

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This will probably be me (since I haven’t ridden in three years…

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I did pick up a copy of the US Pony Club Book of Horsemanship so I can refresh the basics like how to hold my reins, pick a hoof, and generally sit a horse (I kid…) I am also considering getting two of these shirts for the Chick and myself.

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So that’s the summer in a nutshell. Next week (or after) I’ll probably bore everyone with house pictures. But you can check my Instagram for sneak peeks of where we are at. It’s the home stretch (thank goodness).

What have you been up to this summer? Anything fun?

*all images from Pinterest 

I want to love you, but I don’t

For me, shopping ethically is important. Over the last year I have made a conscious effort to think about what I am buying and decide if that companies principles are the same as my own. It has prevented me from buying from places that I know are not supplying ethical/fairly made clothes and items.

I feel good about that.

But here’s the catch.

None of the items I’ve purchased have been home runs. Some have been returned because of defective quality, or unflattering style (and most companies charging you $10 or more for the privilege of returning an item). Others I have kept with the nagging in the back of my mind, that I’m keeping it because I want to support what I think is right, even if the item for me, is wrong.

It’s very frustrating. I’m not sure if it’s because I am petite at 5’5 {generally wearing size xs/0}, or that I simply have to order online as most ethical clothing lines are only online {at least in my price bracket, I am not willing to buy the $145 Elizabeth Suzann t-shirt sold in a store}

So what happens? I order from places where I know the sizing fits, and I know the quality will be good, and that their values are at least not in the same category of H&M. I don’t feel great about it. I don’t like it.

I really hope companies who produce ethically made clothing will start to moderate their pricing. I want fair wages and safe conditions for workers, but if you mark a t-shirt up to $88, you’re only reach the rich and not the middle class who would love to follow your example, but who cannot afford it. {Forbid you end up with a stain on a $145 t-shirt! A $45 t-shirt is bad enough} Marking up the cost because ethically made is trendy, popular, etc isn’t what the slow-fashion movement is supposed to be about.

If you want people to get on board, and do the right thing, you have to make it more accessible. $40 is reasonable, $50 even. Even at that price I would hesitate (and that is half the point, you should think about the purchase and decide – do you really need it? I get frustrated with others who shop Primark/H&M and literally say they can throw it away when they are finished with it because it’s cheap.)

There is more awareness than there used to be. Companies are starting to realize sustainable fashion IS what consumers want. If we could find a happy medium price-wise, the planet (and the people living on it) might just be in a happier place.

Week Two Stateside

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We are two weeks in to being back in Seattle, and all around, we all feel like we never left. Our neighbors are still the same (with one baby addition), our house is still standing (if a bit less put together than when we left it {annoyed}) and we are loving the life we left. It has been a very busy two weeks:

  • Purchased kayaks and took them for their first test run {LOVE}
  • Finalized all the house renovations {and had to add new paint to the entire inside of the house, thanks to the last two years}, and demo is underway
  • Spent a lot of time driving to the library and checking out hordes of book for the Chick and myself {LOVE x a billion}
  • Rushed to the animal hospital at 11 pm (all’s well)
  • Bought a new car (hopefully picking it up this weekend)
  • and made more trips to Target than I actually expected to (nothings changed)

Even though we’ve been gone two years it really feels like no time has passed. I still remember how to get places (mostly), and I still get annoyed at the traffic, but it just feels So Dang Good to be back here. I think we have all finally found a place that definitely feels like home, and is home. For how often we have moved in the past, if 5 years down the road we were asked to move, I believe it would really be a tough sell {unless the destination was Tahiti…just saying}.

Yep, we love where we live, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

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still waiting for our 4th paddle to arrive, until then the girl gets to let dad do all the work!

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Color Inspiration

It’s come around to Tuesday again. Already. I’m not sure how that is possible. My kids have one and a half days of school left, two days until we move back to America, and possibly 4 days till I’m sipping an iced coffee by the pool {you have to love temp housing that includes a pool when it’s 90 billion degrees outside}.

I thought maybe I’d post a bit about some very colorful items that have recently caught my eye on Pinterest. With summer in full bloom, it’s hard not to very happy about brightly painted furniture and colorful pieces of art.

I realize this boy isn’t really holding the kids up, but there’s something very fun about it. It reminds me of a blog I used to read where the dad is a photographer and he did all kinds of crazy things with his kids {via photoshop}. One of my favorites was inserting his daughter under a ‘giant’ coffee machine while she opened her mouth to catch a drop. Or his daughter as a firework. There’s plenty of beautiful pictures of his girls just being kids too.

I would love to be able to be this bold in a hallway in my own home.

To make this work I think you need a certain type of house. An older home with the molding to make it more unexpected. Even though it is a dramatic color scheme, I don’t think it would play the same if it were a new home. It would end up looking more modern, instead of the rich tones here.

I’ve had this pinned for years. This chest is fun, bright, unique and would great in a lot of different rooms. From a sports theme to a front foyer, it can kind of go anywhere. {versatile is it’s name}

I wouldn’t even care what movie was showing, I’d just want to go for the decor.

I shouldn’t like the space below because I’ve never found red to be particular restful in a bedroom, but somehow this totally works for me.

This would be an easy place to give directions to; I live in the green house.

I love the dark and soothing soft pale tones in this kitchen. It’s moody and calming at the same time.

The final inspirations I want to share I found while searching for Flor tile examples. I want to create a rug out of Flor tiles for our dining room. Since you can buy individual tiles to create a design of your own making, it would make a very unique look.

Are you finding anything particularly inspiring this week? Let me know!

*to those wondering, our dog is doing great. she hates being confined to her kennel to rest, but who wouldn’t?