It has been about a month since my last post and a lot has happened. We had an unexpected trip back to Seattle. It was a surreal experience both because our reason for going was so terrible and at the same time being back was both comforting and unsettling. We were only home for four days, went to see women’s football at the Olympics and then we were off on our planned summer holiday. Ten days on vacation with Grandma and Papa were so nice. We had sun, swimming, too much food and great time for the babies to get to really be with them. They then came back to our house and we celebrated Kellen’s 3rd birthday and Ella’s 1st. The 3 week period was exciting and exhausting, I thought of countless posts I wanted to do but time seemed to slip away and now it’s a month later and I don’t know where to start.
First just a few quick words about our little Miss Ella; she just might be the sweetest and most adorable little girl ever. Somehow it seems everything is on fast forward and every day she is doing more, communicating more, pushing her brother back, everything. She is essentially a mini toddler at this point and shows no signs of slowing down. One of the funniest things about her is the way she communicates. I’ve always said that Ella yells, sometimes she isn’t crying she is literally yelling at you, she starting doing this pretty young. Well now she is the bossiest baby I have ever met. She has figured out that she can point to what she wants then grunt or make noise to tell you, if you are looking away or taking too long you better watch out. She gets progressively more forceful and angry when she doesn’t get what she wants immediately. It is so funny because she can sit at the table and point to the food, her cup, your food, if there is bread in the middle of the table she will point to it to ask for some. It is amazing how well she communicates and how quick she has everyone jumping to follow orders. On the 16th her actual first birthday we sang happy birthday and she had her own cupcake on the tray of her high chair, she wasn’t totally sure what to do with it she may have been waiting for someone to cut it or give her bites. Grandma figured she’d help by breaking a little piece off and giving Ella a bite. Ella loved it and then pointed at Grandma and then the cupcake and yelled. It was very clear that she was saying, “You Grandma, put cake in my mouth now!”
Spending time in Seattle and having such good time with my parents of course it makes you think about going home. Jamie and I have talked about it with my parents and then between Jamie and me we try to touch base with each other every so often to just check in and make sure we are both feeling the same way. We are also hitting the one year mark, Jamie and Patrick arrived on September 1st and the babies and I didn’t make it until early October. So we are settled now, for the most part we have figured out what works for us and what doesn’t. It is starting to feel like home. It was very odd to be leaving Seattle to go home. We like the UK, I don’t think either one of us wants to live here forever, but it is a good environment for our family. Being back, watching the news, reading the headlines online and even in The Guardian we aren’t sure that the US is a good environment for our family right now. This isn’t an elitist, oh in Europe things are perfect, attitude. Things are definitely not perfect here, just try doing something efficiently and you will go crazy, and my dishwasher had been broken for over 2 months now. But things do seem really broken in the US and the trends we see are alarming.
I love politics, I just listened to Ann Romney’s convention speech while I was cooking and I thought she did great, although I completely disagree with her and her husband. I love the debates, I feel passionately about my politics and I always considered myself liberal. Moving out of the US I’ve realized liberal in the US is far from liberal in Europe (I can’t speak for other parts of the world since I really don’t know). As Obama gets labelled a socialist for a healthcare plan that isn’t government sponsored, or even the fact that socialist is considered an insult, is so different then a continent that provides healthcare. Not only do we receive healthcare in the UK, we have travel cards so that we are covered anywhere in the EU. I will read an article about France thinking about returning to a 75% tax rate for the wealthiest and the next article explains that in the US the wealthiest often pay less than the poor. But the truth is although we believe in universal healthcare and would vote for it every time, we have been fortunate to have great benefits through our employer. If we were to move back to the States healthcare would not be barrier.
What I’ve found more alarming is what appears to be not only a hard break right in American politics but some determination to move backwards. You have a movement to reverse women’s rights but hey that’s ok because in cases of legitimate rape women can’t get pregnant. I’m not sure where to start on this, is it the fact that it suggests that there are types of rape that aren’t real? That it makes no sense as far as medical science? Or even better that being forced to carry a child conceived through rape is the same thing as having a child out of wedlock! In Ann Romney’s speech she says she has met with families who want another child but can’t have one because of the economy, they can’t afford it. Yet under changes proposed to healthcare employers won’t be required to provide coverage for contraceptives, so lucky for those families if they can’t afford birth control looks like they will be having plenty of kids!
I’m not a gun control expert; we have family members who enjoy hunting and own guns. I do know that guns are too easy to get in the United States. It is shocking that when tragic events like the Aurora shootings happen gun sales surge. I heard about the shootings on BBC radio as I was driving and the host asked the reporter if this tragic event would spark a new debate on gun control laws in the US, the reporter responded that no the US has a high tolerance for violent events of this kind. This is not something we should be proud of. Now living in a country were guns are not allowed the nightly news does not play through like a list of horrible events and deaths. In fact they are currently debating stricter control of knives, no joke.
I won’t even get started on the wilful disbelief of science as it relates to global warming and evolution. Or the fact that in the last election the fact that Obama went to Harvard was an insult? Right because being educated is the worst thing we would want in a President. The blatant discrimination that gay couples face without the right to marry; or the growing disparity between rich and poor.
So as Jamie and I talk about moving home, when we would want to move and what’s best for the kids the US doesn’t look great right now. We miss family and I’m sure work will bring us home sooner then we realize. When I think of my daughter I don’t want her growing up in an environment where our leaders are splitting hairs over rape or making decisions that will impact her ability to decide for herself if and when she will start a family. I don’t want any of our kids to be in a situation where medical costs or cost of insurance could impact their homeownership or what job opportunities they take/don’t take. We just aren’t rushing to be back in that environment.
I’ll step down off the soap box now.