Monday, May 28, 2012

On Strike

CP Rail is on strike. 
Thousands of running trades employees are fighting a serious fight that will affect them and their families for years to come. 
I've read the newspapers. I've watched the news. I can see the twitter feed. I have read the comments. I hear the buzz about it.
It's disheartening to hear what people are saying.

Get back to work, don't you care how many people you are affecting. 

What are you complaining about? We all know you make $130,000/year and get at least 6 weeks paid vacation. 

Your job is so easy.

Your pension will be based on more than almost anyone else makes anyways, so stop whining and get back to work. 

First of all, check your facts people. I just got our income tax return back and nowhere on there does it say anything even close to $130,000. For the record. And also, 3 weeks vacation right here.

Second and more importantly, I think the whole world would be remiss in thinking that the thousands of CP employees that are on strike right now, don't care about all the people they are affecting. They know, they care, they worry and lose sleep over this whole thing, but they have to do this. They HAVE to stand up for what is right and fair. If they don't, then what?

This job, Brians job, is not easy. It's not for everyone. And let me assure you, the perks are limited. In fact, off the top of my head, I can't think of even one perk. Maybe some think a solid pension at the end of 35 years on the road is a perk. I happen to think that after 35 years of working in these conditions, the all nighters AND all day-ers in one trip, the no weekends or holidays off, the missing important events because you can't get even one day off, the unpaid time in an away from home terminal, the being on call 24/7, that a solid pension at the end is a right. Oh, and plus, they pay for it. Literally and figuratively.

These employees are not asking for a raise, for more time off. Hell, they aren't even asking for better working conditions. They are asking for the company to leave their pension alone. Asking for them to NOT cut it by 40%, to see that they work hard for a very long time and that they deserve it.
CP Rail has a long standing history of having an enviable pension plan. One that made people want to work for them for just that reason. Yes, it would be 35 long years, yes, it would a difficult lifestyle, but look! At the end, I would be able to live! Comfortably!
Take this away? I dare say they take the only reason to work for them away.
I don't know anyone who works for CP Rail because they get to wear cute overalls. (p.s. Those cute CP overalls are totally a thing of the past)

I watched a live news feed from the House of Commons today that had every minister of every industry in Canada explain why they thought the government should intervene and mandate the employees back to work. Each one went on to say how many billions of dollars the railroad moves every year and how many millions of tonnes of cargo and resources are moved. How many people in this country are directly and indirectly affected by how the railroad operates. It was everyones argument as to why the employees NEED to go back to work. As I listened, I had to wonder why the Company doesn't see that those are the EXACT reasons they (the company) should appreciate the employees and want to do more (or at least something) for them (the employees). Why don't the see the employees as a valuable asset that they should take care of? Why don't they want to be the stand up company that they used to be? Why do they make millions of dollars in profits yet somehow justify cutting pensions by 40%?

Brian might have been a twenty year old kid that hired on because he saw the dollar signs and thought well where else can I work in this town with a high school education? But now? Now he works there so he can provide for his family and have a hope of one day retiring and getting two solid nights of sleep in a row.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Adventure 2012 Home

I love vacations, everything about them...staying in hotels, finding new hole-in-the-wall restaurants with great food, meeting new people, the excitement and adventure. I love it. You know what else I love? Coming home from vacation.
We made it home last night after two long last days.
We were all happy to walk in the door and have some space.
My family are all fantastic traveling companions. My kids are great in the car - Jace sleeps and Maizey tries to touch him. She takes his blankets and his toys and says she is going to poke his eye. When he doesn't wake up or act bothered by it, she forgets about him and sits nicely. She sings and reads and talks our ears off. Brian and I mesh well on the road together. He highway drives, I navigate the cities. We are both expert map readers. We make stops when we need to and are happy to not stop at all too. When we can't get the radio to work, we ride in quiet. We put in close to 1400 miles last week and I can say that there were (almost) no fights. (*almost* because he seriously needs to RELAX when crossing the border. Seriously) (I drove on the way back across the border. For the record.)
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights at bedtime, Maizey lay sobbing in her bed that she wanted to go home and sleep in her own bed. On Thursday morning when we said we would finally be sleeping in our own beds that night, she sobbed that she wanted to go back to the water park.
We found a Target and I was not disappointed. There are a lot of things to buy in a Target that are only $1 - thats my kind of store!
We have suitcases to unpack and mountains of stuff to still put away - but our new bbq is put together... and has already cooked dinner for us once in its less than 24 hour life... it's all about priorities people!
McGiven Family vacation comes to a close for 2012... it was fun and exciting and not even a little bit relaxing and we came home far more exhausted than when we left, but hey... thats what vacation with kids is about right?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adventure 2012 Part 2

The McGiven Family adventure 2012 continues....







After an amazingly beautiful, fun, relaxed and perfectly perfect wedding, we left Vancouver Island headed for Seattle.



When my friend Sheila announced the date for her wedding, we planned our entire vacation for the year around it. I had to miss one of my best friend's in the entire worlds wedding last year and I was bound to not let it happen again.



Sheila pulled off a wedding that was, in a word, flawless. Seriously, a picturesque farm, historic buildings, a bridesmaid singing as Sheila and her dad walked down the isle, well-said speeches and a party to be envied. She, a radiant and happy bride, him a proud groom. Thank you for having us Sheila and Jeff, we are lucky to have friends like you in our life and wish you a life time of happiness.

(photo courtesy of Sheilas facebook - thanks Sheila!) 

Well, would you look at that? Hes got the legs down, just needs to get the arms coordinated and he'll be off!

Seattle delivered, like it has every other time. Okay, I've only been one other time but it was awesome then and it is awesome still.



Besides the rain *which, duh, it's Seattle* I could not stop smiling. I love that city.


The Space Needle out the window of our hotel, Pike Place Market breakfast over looking the ocean, fresh flowers and a little fish throwing,




 Starbucks, Nordstrom Rack and super expensive jeans for super cheap (ok, maybe not super cheap, the word would be reasonable.), micro-brew beer with lunch *obviously*,




hilly streets and buskers... the city is endless.





 I could have stayed for days, but alas, we had even greater plans.

We are now holed up in what can only be described as indoor heaven for kids. The Great Wolf Lodge.
Not too shabby.
 After a week of late nights, this one will be early... a giant indoor water park sure wears a kid (and adults) out.
Next stop; Target - lofty, I know. I need to see what the fuss is all about.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Adventures 2012

I have three half written posts sitting in here, waiting for me to find the time to finish them, but when I go to finish them they seem so old news and boring, therefore, half finished and patiently waiting in eternal blog land is where they will sit.
We are off on an adventure for the next week.
Right now we are in Nanaimo visiting Brians brother and his girlfriend and their ten month old daughter (actually, at this exact moment, I am sitting in the truck while Jace sleeps in his seat and Brian and Maizey wander the aisles of Chapters looking for anything fun and amusing for a two year old). Maizey is desperate for Arwyn to want to play with her. Since we all know each other but not all that well, I'm sure they think she is an overbearing beast - but I swear, she just really really wants to play!! That being said, it's always fun when we get to spend time with family, especially those we almost never get to see. Plus, hotels with breakfast included? Awesome.
The "giant car boat" was as crowd pleasing as expected, although someone was a little annoyed to find there was no slide into the ocean. I mean, wtf bc ferries??
One of my most favorite people in the whole world is getting married tomorrow and I could not be more excited to rock out to the best of the '80s with her!
Wish us luck on the next leg of our trip - crossing the border with a loud two year old and a husband that panics in front of people in a booth wearing a uniform asking questions. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day 2012

Being a mother....
... for me it means a great many things.

Little sleep and long days.
A rare shower by myself.
Cold meals and coffee but warm beer.
Thousands of pictures.
Endless messes and dishes coming out my ass.
Laundry. Freaking laundry. If it doesn't need to be washed, it needs to be folded. If not folded, then certainly put away.
Sticky finger prints.
Stained clothes.
Gut laughs and alligator tears.
Hand holding.
Castle buildig and blocks under feet.
Endless supply of goldfish (the crackers).


A "bambaid" needed for every little thing.
Slow walking.
Bedtime stories.
Waking up to a little face in mine saying "are you in there?"
Dandelion bouquets.
Sharing everything from my ice cream and bed to the bathroom. Always.
Appreciating my mother more than I could ever have before I knew what this journey was all about.
Painting tiny little finger nails.
Repeating myself over and over and over.
One more story.
'Kids say the darndest things' moments.

(this picture totally cracks me up! He looks drunk, right? hahaha)

Smiles that turn me into mush.
Fights and compromises.
A two year old that doesn't care what compromise means.
Hearing 'I love you Mom'. Seriously, who doesn't well up when they hear that?
 Finding the magic in pretend phone calls, the fake meals and the imaginary marigolds.
Watching two little pieces of my heart live and breathe.


Thank you to the little girl that made me a Mama and to the little boy that filled my heart with even more love than I knew possible. I love you both to the moon and back. Thank you for a wonderful, meaningful Mothers Day. I will rest easily tonight knowing just how much you love me and I, you. xo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Diaper Snuggle

Every night for the last year and a bit, before we go to bed, we quietly slip Maizeys diaper and p.j's back on while she sleeps. Every night when she goes to bed, she waits until we leave the room then she strips down and piles her diaper and pyjamas into a ball with her blankie and stuffs it under her belly so that she is laying, all curled up with the ball underneath her. Every. Single. Night. She rarely wakes up as we get her dressed and she has never wondered how, magically, she is fully clothed the next morning. It's now just part of nightly routine. Recently she has started to come up repeatedly to go to the bathroom again before she goes to sleep (poor girl is cursed with my teeny tiny little bladder.). This means that some nights we literally put her diaper and p.j's (damn one piece sleepers!!!!) on three, four, five times. Tonight, after the second pee....

Me: So, are you just going to take this off as soon as you get downstairs? 

Maizey: Ya, I am. 

Me: Ok, well then you know what? Tonight is going to be a really special night and you get to go to bed with just your p.j's on!

Maizey: Yayy! Ok!

*zips up her sleeper and sends her to bed. 

- - Five seconds after her door closes.... - -

Maizey:  **sobbbbbbiiinnngggggg**

- - Little feet running up the stairs - -

Me: What are you crying about??

- - Naked Maizey comes around the corner - -

Maizey: But I need my diaper onnnnn..... *more sobbing*  come into the bathroom and put it on me pleasseeee Mom.

Me: Why Missy? You are just going to take it off when you get down there anyways!!!!

Maizey: *sob* because I *sob sob sob* like to *sob* snuggle it.... 

 So there we go. Now I know why she does what she does.

This kid, she's a one of a kind.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I have no idea what Cinco de Mayo is. You know, besides the obvious, fifth of May. Like, I don't know why it is of any importance and who it is important to. All I know is that I woke up yesterday morning and my twitter feed and Pinterest pages had blown up with Cinco de Mayo call outs and recipes and festive pictures.



So after drooling over the delish looking pictures of Mexican food for awhile, I tossed out a quick "hey, Mexican fiesta at my house in 2 hours. It's Cinco de Mayo, you know - be here" text and you know what? It worked.



Our friends came, we ate tostados and quesadillas and nachos and chips and queso and drank beer-a-gritas and margaritas. What we lacked in sombreros, Shane made up for in... a cowboy hat? Whatever, it seemed festive at the time! Also, hot damn those Mexicans have tasty food.


I love when last minute call outs turn out to be so much fun.



Late into the night we discussed the finer points of horrible last names, purging the memory of horrible movies like Black Swan and Mama Mia, or rather all musicals in general and other such topics that will not be mentioned here. I will leave it at this - I have hilarious friends.


Early mornings with a smile still on my face are so worth it.
Happy Cinco de Mayo - whatever it is!!
Buenas Nachos everyone... I mean Buenas Noches!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The One About Jace

I realized that it has been awhile since I updated Jace's current standings....
He's 7 months old for crying out loud. Where the eff did the time go??

We seem to be out of the woods on the old weight issue. Some say an apple a day keeps the doctor away... we say an avocado a day does that. In the beginning he was (in our eyes) huge. In the middle, he was tiny. He now falls somewhere in between, which pretty much lands him at perfect. At the end of March we took him for his first follow up weight appointment and our doctor, whom we love dearly, expressed further concern at his curve on the growth chart. I now hate growth charts, but that's another post altogether. But look at him, he LOOKS healthy, he's happy, he is meeting milestones. I seriously just can't be worried when he looks like this. She agreed, but again referred to the numbers and suggested mixing his (newly fed to) cereal with breast milk rather than water just for the extra calories. Seriously, I'm not sure the extra 3 tbsp's of breast milk a day are going to make all the difference. So rather, we stuffed him full of the fattiest food we know is healthy for a baby - avocado. It was Maizeys saving grace and it's now Jaces also. Along side giant heapings of complex carbs and umpteen bags of cereal, he is finally, finally at a number that every health care professional in our life agrees is healthy. He weighs... wait for it.... a whopping 17 pounds! I know, right?? He wears 6-12 month clothes and fills them out appropriately. He has little rolls on his legs and a dimply little butt. He is 17 pounds of pure cute.

He maintained only two teeth through the rest of March and pretty much all of April. Last week, he cut one top tooth and it wasn't even the middle one. I was horrified at the thought of him smiling with one fang, but the next day the other side cut through and then the day after that the middle two cut through also. In three days, he went from two teeth to six. I hate that bitch, the tooth fairy.

He is a rolling machine. He can get from anywhere to anywhere in the blink of an eye. He gets stuck under the couch all the time. It's not super convenient, when I lay him on the bathmat while I'm in the shower and he rolls himself to the other side of the bathroom and gets his head stuck under the toe kick of the vanity. He is starting to try and raise his bum in the air and pull himself forward. Does this mean crawling is in our near future? If I was of the baby proofing type, I would be getting on that. But I'm not. So whatever.

He waves and claps his hands. He even waves when no one is waving at him. He's a practicer, this kid. He is also a pincher and hair puller. Specifically when I am nursing him - my chest, cheeks, arms, lips and hair don't love it. He knows his name and smiles at the sound of it. Actually, he smiles at the sound of most anything. He laughs so easily, tiny little belly laughs that slay me. He has incredibly descriptive eyebrows. They tell the truth about what he's thinking - wtf? horror? annoyance? surprise? intense? The answer is in the eyebrows. He is a tad bit dramatic when he doesn't want to go to sleep and instantly happy when picked up. He has a tendency to play shy, but warms up quickly. He learned to scream when Maizey came close so that we would shoo her away - we have since stopped and so has he - as long as shes not touching, he's pretty happy to have her around! 

He brings even more laughter and love to our home - something we thought was at capacity with the big kid around here.