Friday, January 2, 2009

Jingle Bell Rock

We're back! We have been living out of a suitcase and pack n' play for nearly two weeks but we had a blast.

We barely got out of Victoria on the 22nd due to extreme weather conditions. Like I mentioned in my previous post, the city of Victoria and piles of snow do not mix well. Half of the flights departing from Victoria International were canceled, so we considered ourselves lucky to only be one hour delayed. Lily has proven to be a seasoned traveler. She likes to sleep on planes and chat with the people around her.

This year we celebrated Christmas with all of my extended family on the 24th (about 50 people) and then had a more intimate Christmas Day gathering at my parents. One of the highlights of our holiday was volunteering on Christmas morning with City Impact in the Tenderloin district, San Francisco's poorest neighborhood. My sister Tiffany, my brother-in-law Robert and my brother Eric all work full-time for this amazing organization. In the end we estimated that 350 volunteers came out and served over 3,500 meals and distributed groceries and toys in one of America's most poverty stricken neighborhoods. Ben and I had the privilege of delivering hot meals door-to-door inside the area's low-income housing. We felt both humbled and blessed to be a part of this day with our family. You can check out City Impact's website at

We were also thrilled to be able to hang out with friends and family for the entire week! The Strong household became very busy with 9 of us under one roof. Because we had 'free' babysitting for the week, Ben and I were able to meet up with friends for lunch, check out a new bocce ball restaurant and Ben went to the last 49er's home game of the season. Of course I also managed to fit in a few hours of intense, post-Christmas shopping with my sister Lizzy the shopping extraordinaire.

When we returned to Victoria we had another mini-Christmas with Ben's family. This is the bonus of having family in two different countries. Double the Christmas celebrations!

I know that gifts are not the 'reason for the season' but I want to give props to the American Idol Karaoke Set for xbox that I received. You might not want to show up at our house for the next few weeks since you will be greeted by me belting out the tunes of Kelly Clarkson on my new microphone.

We hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

This is what we were greeted with the morning we left Victoria. Our driveway had about a foot of snow.

Typical Lily pose. She looked spectacular in her gold Christmas ensemble

Three Generations with Lil

Mom & Dad



Lily loves her walker. So lame that these things are illegal in Canada. I swear I am going to smuggle one in my suitcase- just don't report me to Canadian customs.

A little freaked out by Sophie the Doberman. The Dogs love Lily, Lil is not so sure about them.

Amidst Christmas gear. Notice she is sipping on a baby Starbucks mug. She is already addicted.

With Canadian Grandma at Christmas #2.

Trying to escape while opening gifts with Mom on Christmas #2.