Day 116 – 12/24 Christmas Eve in Visalia, CA

It’s Christmas Eve!  The girls have been super excited about getting to today.  Our tradition is to stay up until midnight and celebrate Xmas as the 25th arrives.  We then exchange gifts, and after we sleep Santa comes and brings his gifts.  So, today is the day!  We have lots to do and lots we want to do, so hoping we can get it all done in time, and that we can stay awake haha, especially me.

It is a bit foggy outside right now at 8am, but not bad, somewhat like yesterday.  Our windows are like yesterday as well.  Some areas with nothing, some a little foggy, and in very few spots we have some drops formed.  It looks like this is the best we will get to without doing anything else, so maybe I’ll try adding an oscillating fan to hit the windows in the living room and see what that does, but at this point I’m feeling better about how things are.

Bia just woke up, looked for Rosie (the Elf), said “hi”, and touched her as she said hi.  The look on her face every day as she sees the elf is magical.  The then got her advent calendar, and realized she just ate the last piece of chocolate 🙂

Bella woke up and jumped out of bed saying “It’s Christmas Eve, it’s Christmas Eve!”.  She’s excited.  She was very excited but thought we were opening all the gifts today already, so we had to manage her expectations later.

We had breakfast together, which we have not had in a while, so it was nice to all sit together.  We had a chocolate Pannetone, and this one was chocolate all around.  Chocolate dough, and chocolate chips.  It was soooo yummy.  If you have not had those yet, try it.  Nothing like getting wired up for the day like having chocolate cake with coffee for breakfast 🙂 hahahaha…  Oh, I had said since Bella was expecting we’d be opening gifts today that we could change the Poor Santa tradition and since we had so many gifts for each of us, we could open one after each meal today, so we opened one after breakfast.  This has been very fun so far, definitely doing again next year. I got two rags from Carol since I’m always wiping the trailer windows from condensation hahahah… loved it!  

Bia wrote a note to Rosie, asking her to stay a little longer as  they realized she’d be gone tonight with Santa.  She’s really hoping Rosie will stay a bit longer.

We cleaned up the trailer, put away everything so the living room, dinette etc would not have anything, and so we had room for today’s activities.  We had gifts to put out, Carol wanted to make food from scratch, etc.

Carol went shopping one last time as one of the gifts we got did not work, so she’s looking for a replacement, and while she’s out she’s going to wrap everything that’s behind the truck.

Later, Carol said when her and Bia were wrapping a Squishymallow (squishy stuffed toy that is very soft, like a marshmallow) toy for Bella, that Bia hugged it and said “I wanted one of these so much…” and her eyes tiered up and she was crying, and really crying, from deep in her heart.  Carol said she felt so bad, it was a real… deep… cry.  Bia didn’t know Carol had one for her as well, and Carol didn’t say anything.

I wrote a bit on posts in the morning, but still left one behind to get caught up.  (Writing this now on SAT 12/26 and finishing this on 12/28)… so behind again.

The girls were in a great mood, they played games, did some art, just did a nice job playing together.  They were talking nicely, they were laughing together, just awesome time.

After Carol came back I went for a run.  It was a good run, with good weather.  Today, I could see the Sierra Nevada mountains far away, with some snow on the top of the mountains, that was very pretty.

Carol made gnocchi from scratch, and guided Bia as she made a pudding.  Bia loved making her pudding, and it turned out great.  While Bia did that, and Carol worked on her gnocchi, Bella put together some little pizzas for lunch, and I baked them outside in the grill.  It was great to see everyone working together and having a great time.  The girls were helping with everything, and were into everything we were doing, and in great mood.  They were dancing, we had Christmas music playing all day, and just enjoying the day.  The weather also helped a lot, it was a beautiful day outside.

After we ate lunch (pizzas) we opened another Poor Santa gift.  Bella got a “crazy” tiara from Bia, with unicorns as antennas, and she loved it!  She ended up wearing it most of the day. Hahaha.  

We talked to friends and family pretty much all day, in between and in the middle of everything we did.  Late afternoon we started getting things ready for dinner.  Girls took showers first and Bia decided she wanted to wear her PJs.  We all worked together to get the place cleaned up and the table set.  Carol and I got ready, and we had our dinner. 

The Gnocchi turned out awesome.  It took Carol all afternoon to do it, and it was great.  Bella didn’t like it much, and I think she was a bit tired and started complaining.  It almost got out of hand, but Carol offered to make her regular pasta quick, and did it, and Bella ate it and it was all good.  We then moved on to dessert…. Bia’s Milk Pudding, or Pudim de Leite.  Oh it was awesome!  Everyone ate, we had seconds, and moods always improve after eating :). We took advantage of the renewed good mood, cleaned up the dishes and stuff, and decided to play games.  But first, another round of Poor Santa gifts.  After opening the gifts, we played this Trolls Monopoly game the girls have.  It was a lot of fun.  By then, the girls were tired, and impatient, so we had to make some plan changes to keep the mood going.  We talked to some more friends and family, and decided we’d open Poor Santa gifts every 30 minutes, hoping we’d keep things light and fresh and make time go by faster :).  That… kind of worked.  We made it work, and were just hanging out, girls were bored and we didn’t want to turn on the TV, so we decided we’d exchange the gifts we got to each other around 11:45.  We had fun opening gifts, and everyone got some of the main things they put in their lists.  Carol got an awesome Ninja Pan that can bake, instaPot, Air Fry, etc… Bia got a camera.  Bella got a phone (old Carol’s phone, with no service).  I got new Ts and new running shoes.  We were all excited about our gifts.  

As midnight came we did our greetings, and shared again what we are all thankful for.. I had Bia start, then Bella, really to see what they’d say.  I am so proud of them, for realizing how blessed we are with everything.  They are thankful for family, for being together, for having health, and having this opportunity to travel together, and many other things.

We continued opening our gifts.  The first gifts we opened were the squishy mellows, and I got one too, and so did Bia.  Bia was emotional, and was sooooo happy she got one, she was crying again.  She hugged hers, and her eyes filled up and she cried she was so happy she got one.  You know, the one she cried when she was wrapping Bella’s with Carol and told Carol she always wanted to have one. 🙂 After these we had opened our big items I already mentioned.  I knew after these gifts they’d want to stay up longer and not go to bed so soon, even though prior to opening these they were tired.  We  stayed up and just chatted and played around with the new gifts until about 1:30 local time, and then went to bed.

It was a loooooog day, and even though we had a little bump around dinner, it was a great xmas eve.

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