Day 113 – 12/21 Visalia, catch up day + Santa Visit

Today was a school day, catch up and go shopping kind of day.

It was a super foggy morning.  I have the window shades open and can’t even see the trailers across the street.  There’s a dense fog advisory until 1pm today, and it says visibility is about 100 feet in some areas and driving is dangerous.  Wow!  It was like this last night as well.  That’s a long time under dense fog.  It’ll be a catch up on work morning for sure, even though the camp wifi is not good at all.

Update on the dehumidifier…. The windows had condensation, but much it is all much better than before.  Not perfect, but better… at least not much water running down the window, and puddles by the frames.  Most of the windows just had “fog”, and just a few spots had water droplets.   

Our routine was much more relaxed today with no virtual classes being live, so I let the girls sleep in.  As they woke up, I had them login (had the AT&T hotspot going since the camp wifi sucks) and take care of the 2 days of work that was assigned to them.  I told them to do it all today so they don’t have much to do tomorrow, and they will have almost 2 weeks off.  They gladly complied and were happy to hear they’ll have two weeks off. Hahahahah..  Bella had a bit of a tantrum with the work she needed to do, but got it done and she was just left with reading. Bia did everything she was assigned, and she has been reading a ton so that was all done.  There’s only a math online assignment she could not do as the link was not working and we don’t have a PIN we need. When both girls were kind of done, we just had them finish changing, and getting ready for the day.  The plan was to have lunch and then go to town and do some shopping.

I worked on catching up on posts while helping the girls, I’m quite behind but was able to get two posts done this morning.  It’s been taking a while to write each as I’m having less uninterrupted time, so restarting as I go just takes longer.  And I think the posts have been longer as well, but it’s all fine, I’ll get caught up again.

Carol worked on laundry and then on lunch.  She made rice with lentils and a breaded pan fried tilapia.  While we were outside frying the fish, a pick up truck drove by behind our trailer, and when the driver saw me, she opened her window and asked if we had kids.  I replied, she asked their ages, and after I replied, so stopped the car and from the passenger side, there came a lady dressed in a Santa suit… Santa!!!  Yayyyy…. I called the girls quick and fortunately they were almost all ready, they were doing their hairs.  I told them to come out quick as Santa was here. :).

They came out and Santa had 2 boxes for each of the girls, she came over and handed the gifts.  That was awesome… then Santa told them to wait a bit, went to the truck and pulled two more boxes and handed one more to each of the girls.  We were all like speechless and shocked, and amazingly surprised.  This was such a cool gesture, from a complete stranger, totally was a Christmas like thing.  We thanked Santa and her driver lots, and they moved on and continued driving.  We saw them stop at a trailer down the street, and some kids came out.  Our girls were beyond happy.  They said they knew this was not the real Santa, and that it was a woman dressed up as Santa, but they understood her intention was meaningful and that it showed kindness.  They were very excited and could not wait to open the gifts.  We had the girls put the gifts inside and away so we could eat, and we told them they could open once we were done eating and doing the dishes, and cleaning up.

We had a good lunch. The girls ate quick, and ate everything, plus ate as much fish as they could.  The loved the fish with lemon juice.  When we were done, Carol washed the dishes, Bella dried them, and Bia put them away.  We had Christmas music going since late morning, so this was great.  Really felt comfy and cozy, and such a nice family time.

After we had everything cleaned up, we let the girls open their gifts.  They loved the gifts.  We were not sure what to expect, and had lower expectations just because, but they were perfect!  They got a puzzle, doll, balls, basketball hoop, a tiny garden thing, and journal stuff.  Very cool things and they were both excited, very excited.  They wanted to play with everything right away, but we wanted to leave, so they each chose one thing to bring along and we packed up and left.  Bia brought her journal, and Bella brought a doll.  BTW – the doll set Bella got is pretty cool, she was excited that the same doll can be a boy or a girl, and with all the different hair options, clothing and accessories, there are 57 combinations.  The girls were so excited about what they got, they wanted to call Vovo Ana on our way shopping to tell her all about it.  Again, this whole Santa experience was amazing.  Blew my mind.

We drove to Walmart first, as I thought I would find what I was looking for for Carol there.  We are about 15 minutes from this mall complex area, so lots of stores around.  Walmart was pretty full.  Lots of people, families, kids.  I went as fast as I could through it and just wanted to be out of there.  The girls came with me as Carol was looking for something for them.  We didn’t find what we wanted, so we got out of the store.  Carol found some stuff, so I gave her the car keys and took the girls for a walk, so they would not see what Carol got. We made a quick stop at a Pet Store before going to the dollar store.

From there, we went to the dollar store.  I do this thing every year where I go to the dollar store and buy a little something for everyone who will be with us during Christmas.  We usually get friends and family together at our house for dinner on the 24th, and stay together until past midnight.  As it gets close to midnight I hand out the “Poor Santa” gifts, as I call them.  And I tell the kids that Christmas is about being together, being with the ones you love, with your family and friends, and it’s not about the gifts.  So….. since our Xmas is quite different this year, I made a modification to Poor Santa… I decided we each had $10 to spend at the dollar store, and we had to use it this way: $3 on each of the other people, and $1 for yourself.  Since the girls were with me, we went in first.  I’ve been doing this for quite a few years, so I go through the store pretty quick and I was done.  We had picked a place at the store to meet once we were done, and I was there within 10 minutes. hahahah.  The girls were walking around every aisle, and checking everything out, and thinking, etc.  Bella came by at one point and said this was hard. Hahahaha but she said it was also fun.  Bia finished next, she was all smiles and looked radiant.  She had a ton of fun looking for things, and thinking about funny things for everyone, and she said she got herself something “very satisfying” hahahahaha…. Then Carol came in the store and started her shopping.  Soon after Bella came and she had finished.  She also said it was hard but fun.  Bella said she thought about things that would otherwise be expensive out of the dollar store, and so she picked things with that in mind… whatever she felt was something the person would like and was expensive normally, it fit.  And, she also said she got herself something “satisfying” hahahaha… We got in line to pay, and I did what I could to keep the bags separate so no-one saw the other’s picks.  As we finished paying Carol got in line, so we took our stuff to the car and walked around a bit more waiting for Carol.  The entire time we were walking they were just beaming with excitement, saying how fun this was, and that they can’t wait to open their Poor Santa gifts.  They also bugged me to tell each other what they got for themselves.  I told them they should not until we all talked about it, but they did it quietly any way.  I saw a Lowes next door, but we would have to take the truck and cross a highway to get there, so we waited for Carol.

I took the girls with me to Lowes and Carol walked to the nearby Target, as she still wanted to buy some stuff for the girls.  We did find something what we were looking for at Lowes, so we got that and left.  Carol texted saying she had not found what she wanted, so we agreed to meet at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  We drove and Carol had a nice walk there :).  I walked in with the girls and found what we wanted, so I moved the last 2 boxes to a “hidden spot” without the girls seeing it, and waited for Carol to arrive.  When Carol arrived, I showed her where it was and took the girls for another spin. hahahaha… Carol bought the stuff and took it to the car, then we met her there.  Carol has been eye balling this new InstaPot from Ninja that also works as an AirFryer and works great for baking cakes.  She was able to check it out and said she loved it, so I went back in and got it for her for Xmas :). 

We left there and stopped at a grocery store to get a few things for dinner.  It was starting to get foggy at that point, and it was getting foggier very quick.  By time Carol was done and we left, we could see the dense fog coming down.  Then, as we drove and got closer to our campground it was getting harder and harder to see.  The last 2 miles or so I could not see much in front of me, was driving super slow and really taking my time to find the lanes and turns.  It was insane!  So dangerous to be out at that point.  We talked about how it could be a problem to leave this area for a day adventure to the park, but then hit this crazy dense fog on the way back.  So we will see how tomorrow looks before we leave, if we get this crazy fog tomorrow night again I’ll wait for better weather before we leave this spot.

Once we got got back the girls showered while I got the grill going to grill the Picanha steaks that Carol got at the store.  Everything outside was wet and cold.  I left the grill on high and just grilled fast, since the steaks were not too thick.  As the girls finished their showers we ate and then cleaned up.  They then wanted to play with their toys, and Bella got her basketball hoop setup, and they were shooting inside for some time.  They were having fun. 

We watched TV for some time and then went to bed.

It was a nice day here, felt good to not have the tight timelines of the routine and just enjoy.

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