Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Birthday at the beach

Suddenly I'm overdue on blogging again. Quick catch-up: My birthday was last Friday and I really wanted to go out of town, even though we'd have to take Claire, since in a couple more months going on vacation is going to be a lot more trouble.

If we were childless I would have snagged one of the Travelocity Last-Minute Deals that kept appearing in my inbox, but because of Claire we didn't want to deal with an airport and plane unless we had to. The beach condo was supposed to be occupied, plus Hurricane Earl was rolling in, so we started looking into Greenville, S.C., a few Virginia cities and the North Carolina mountains. Greenville seemed to be the best bet -- just a few hours away, extremely kid-friendly and Matt had never been.

The problem with last-minute trips on holiday weekends is that all the plan-ahead types tend to reserve the best hotel rooms. And the problem with traveling with a 14-month-old is that you really need at least two rooms, separated by a door (even if one of them's just a bathroom or large closet), if anyone's going to get a good night's sleep. Combine those two problems and Greenville was pretty much ruled out because there was no hotel with a two-room suite in a good location for a good price.

But then I stumbled upon vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals By Owner) -- what a fantastic site! Lots of furnished homes available for the same price as a hotel room. Most of these were also booked for the weekend, but one was available. It was much more room than we needed and therefore a little more than we wanted to spend, so we set about persuading Jacob, Carrie and Riley to join us, splitting the cost and doubling the fun.

Around lunchtime on Friday, just as they had decided to be fiscally responsible and stay home, meaning we were staying home too, we found out the beach condo (the free option) would be empty after all, so the six of us could claim it.

After lunch at the Chick, complete with Carrie's famous Funfetti birthday cake, I scrambled to do laundry, hit up the library, and get the house ready for a showing that afternoon and two more the next morning -- thank the Lord, it's finally getting more looks! We were on the road by 4 p.m.

The girls love the beach more and more every time, which is a mixed blessing -- Claire used to be perfectly content playing in the sand, and now she makes a mad dash for the ocean every five seconds. Since all of us were there together, each couple got a date night, which was a very nice perk. The sales at some of the outlet stores were ridiculous. I got nothing, Matt got one shirt, and Claire made out like a bandit -- most of the children's clothes at Old Navy and Carter's were literally as cheap as Goodwill. Nice.

I love having a holiday birthday (and anniversary -- Memorial Day) -- makes it so much easier to justify a celebratory long weekend!

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