A few weeks ago, we headed back down to South Carolina. When we were in Missouri in February (about which I still need to post!!!), we got an offer for a timeshare presentation in Charleston with incentives so great, we couldn't turn down the offer. So we accepted. Funnily enough, the location was for the place I had mystery shopped back in November, which made me feel a little odd, so I checked and got permission to go from the scheduler for the shop. Anyway, here's me driving and doing my gorilla face for The Bob.
First, we dropped Jack off at his grandpa's house (my dad) in Aiken, before heading over to Charleston for a couple of days. I don't have any pictures of Jack's time, but he had loads of fun. Dad took him to a train museum with a huge, cool exhibit; to see Cars 2; out to eat numerous times; and more. And since Dad has a pool, Jack spent every spare second swimming and was even given a set of snorkel gear after having a blast with his gran'pappy's. A bit spoiled, he was!
Here's Chloë crashed out on the chair in our Charleston suite, shortly after we arrived. The girls took baths, and I think maybe Rob took them to the pool that night, but I can't quite remember, but that's about all we did after arriving. It was a long drive for me, but that didn't keep me from staying up late and banging away on some pouches for my Etsy shop, which you can see here. Perfect if you have a pet elf, leprechaun, or Smurf in need of a place to sleep...
Rob and I were supposed to, um, have some *adult* fun - always a joy in hotel rooms, no? - but he lay down with Sophia to get her to konk out, and he soon joined her in slumber. Was I surprised? No. Was I disappointed? No, because we still had another night, and I was having fun with my li'l ol' craftin' in the other room.
The next morning, we got up early and went to our timeshare presentation, which was actually kind of fun and low-pressure, and we got out of it quickly when I indicated that all of our travel was pretty much free and they couldn't save us any money on that! So we started roaming around downtown Charleston in search of a trolley stop - it's free to ride, if you visit! - when Sophia decided that this giant chain was just for her to sit upon.
Once we got on the trolley, we had fun riding until we got to the Apple store, where Rob needed to trade his new iPhone 4 in for, like, the 2nd or 3rd time. Some element or another on the phones keeps not working, and he's been having a dickens of a time with it. The girls knew right where the kids' center was, and they raced over to it and started playing games. I see Apple computers in our future...
See the little girl in the picture at the back? I struck up a conversation with her parents, who literally own every Apple product ever made, about the ease-of-use factor for kids, since I do want to make the crossover to Macs from PCs when we can afford it (heh). Anyway, that led on to other parenting discussion, and it turns out that our kids have so much in common, and long story short, I was reassured once again that many of our kids' annoying habits, quirks, and behaviors are normal and common and stuff. Always good to know.
We wandered up the road and had lunch at the Pita Pit, which was awesome (our first time), and then wandered over to more window shopping before finding the large hotel in which the Godiva shop was located. (It also houses the store that sells household Britto goods, so I showed Rob some of their things, since we are fans and occasional collectors. I really wanted a Britto wallet, but since I didn't NEED it, I passed. For the time being.) Anyway, I went into the Godiva shop to get my free truffle for being a rewards member (sign up here), and of course, I had to buy some more chocolates for the gang. Chloë loved the macadamia nut truffle that she picked, but Sophia, as you can see, was not so fond of the strawberry creme one I chose for her. Eh, you can't win 'em all!
I was trying to take a picture of the Godiva bag for the blog, because for some reason I deemed it blog-worthy (hey, it's Godiva, and it's gold, I dunno), when a hotel employee walked by and offered to hold it up for me. She gets me, people. And she had cool nails.
Since Rob is a huge fan of black-, rasp-, and blueberries, of course I had to get him the rather large treat that featured all three. And I chose correctly. He was in chocolate heaven. My words, not his. He would never say nor admit to that.
After those shops, we walked down to the big open-air flea market for which Chucktown is famous. Our first stop was at this woven basket stand, where a woman was literally making the baskets for sale RIGHT THERE ON THE SPOT! I mean, kewl. Sophia was transfixed by this, and you should have seen her elation when the lady actually let her help make the basket by pulling the straw or whatever it is through its hole TWO TIMES. Oh, my word. She felt like she was really part of things, I could tell. (Neglected to get a picture; too busy actually watching.)
Then we stopped at this hat shop, because Rob's looking for a hat he can fish and kayak in without getting his head and ears burnt. The one he picked out looked atrocious on him, so I vetoed that. But the girls had fun trying on hats. Sophia loves to pretend to be a cowgirl!
And is this not the cutest hat on Chloë?! I wish we could have bought it, but it was too much money, not enough utils. Actually not true - plenty of utils, just not enough money in the budget for it. I did pick up a few things for the kids in other stands there: a box of snappers for 50¢ each for the kids, a Smencil for 99¢ for each of them, and also a half-dozen mini rubber tree frogs for our friend Ashley, who collects them. Haven't decided what to do with those yet, though. I also got a Christmas present for each of the girls: A kimono and matching pants set for the American Girl doll Chloë will get for her upcoming 10th (!) birthday, and a charming little tea set for Sophia, who talks about it every day and can't WAIT to get it.
My good chum Erin, newly engaged!!, from grade school, collects post cards (email me if you're distant and would like to send her one), so I was on the hunt for a locally-made one. I happened upon this shop, and since I'm very much about supporting local artists, I had to go in and check. No luck there; no luck anywhere. Sorry, Ernie. :( But it was still a cool shop, and if I'm back in The Chuck, I'll have to stop back in and pick up a couple little things I saw and desired. Assuming funds are available for that, natch.
Horse-drawn carriages are everywhere in Charleston, but we didn't partake on either visit, because they are pricey. Sophia insisted I take a picture of some horsies, though, so here you go, Toots!
This is Tim. Besides being very hawt, Tim was also very sweet and nice. Here's what happened: The girls were both getting blistered feet and couldn't bear to walk any further, let alone all the way back to our parking garage, so I approached his pedicab to inquire about the cost of getting us down there. It wasn't far, so instead of charging his regular $18 rate for four passengers, he agreed to take us there for $12. Well, when Rob came up from where he was browsing, I asked him about it, and he said, no, I don't think we have enough cash for that AND to pay at the parking garage. So I told Tim thanks, but no thanks.
Well, not to be outdone, he said he would take us there for nine bucks. I knew the garage wouldn't cost us more than $11 (all we had was a $20 in cash, and I didn't want to pay $3 to get out more money from the ATM), so I accepted his offer. We had a very fun ride down to the garage, during which the girls kept urging Tim to go "Faster! Faster!" - and he did, saying we were much lighter as a group than his average fare - and then paid him his $9. He agreed to pose for the picture, which makes him even more awesome, and then we bid him adieu.
After getting settled in the van, we got down to pay and were charged $8 for parking, leaving me with $3. Rob and I quickly decided we would hunt Tim down and give him the extra $3, because he really deserved it. Well, we drove up one street and down another, with no luck finding him... until, he just happened to cross in front of us with another passenger. I tootled him with vigor (Lisa, if you're reading this, please tell me you know the reference!), and he stopped by my window. I gave him the three dollars, thanking him again for being so great to us, and he thanked us in return and said it was really cool of us to track him down. I gave me such warm fuzzies, the whole thing, that I didn't stop smiling for at least an hour. So, cheers to Tim!
We went back to our hotel after that - but not before losing Sue, my trusty TomTom GPS, who fell from her perch and cracked, rendering her useless. Sad times for me. At least I had my wonderful iPhone to get us back to the hotel, so I navigated thusly - and were just in time for the evening snack once again. The night before, we'd enjoyed sodas, crackers, pretzels, chips, and a huge abundance of the most delicious guacamole and salsa. I mean, I must've eaten ten peoples' shares of guacamole, it was so good. SO GOOD. I could die just thinking about it. We were hoping the fare would be the same the second night, but this time, it was hummus instead of guac. Everyone else was disappointed, but of course, I was completely ready to engorge myself once again. And I did. So yum!
That night, Rob AGAIN crashed out in the living room of our suite with the girls, while I AGAIN banged out more pouchies for my Etsy shop. I made eight of them in those two nights. I don't know why - they won't sell - but they're fun to make, and so I persisted.
The next morning, we checked out and headed back over to Aiken to collect our boy.
Here's "Mommy Dog," the stray dog who has pretty much taken up residence at my dad's house. She's had two litters of puppies so far, and he and the neighbors have taken care of them. He's adopted one of them for himself at the moment, having rehomed the rest. Anyway, Mommy Dog is the SWEETEST girl, and I wish we could provide a home for her, but four cats is enough for now.
Jack was so happy to see us, and us him. And the girls were excited to be at Grandpa's, too, especially when he gave them some pressies. Chloë received this bead weaving loom set, and a book, after I told Dad she loves reading and crafting.
Sophia, in turn, was given a book and a Barbie set, since Barbie is all the rage among the six-year-old set in our house. Jack was given a book, too, and something else beside the snorkle set, but I forget what. Eh, well.
After that, we all went for a swim in Dad's pool. I have a ton of pictures from that, but I'll spare you looking at all of those. I didn't get a good one of Jack with his snorkle gear on, and Rob always wears a mask when he swims, so no good pictures of him, either. And no, you don't get to see me in my bathing suit!
Taking a break from the pool, Grandpa and Chloë rested on the futon bed they have set up outside next to the pool, and she looked through her new book. She has a habit of being involved with three or four books at a time, and rotates them according to her mood. I am so not like that, but to each her own! While Jack was with his grandpa, they slept out here on the futon both nights. Jack loved that!
Here's Cheyenne, the "keeper" pup of Mommy Dog, having a rest. She did a lot of that, as wee doggies do.
And here's Megan in her bed, being sweet and calm for once. Most times, she's very excitable and in-your-face! There are two more dogs in the household, but they are spoiled and pampered by Wife #5, and they didn't come out of their bedroom to be sociable. Feh.
One last pic of Cheyenne, with Sophia, before I let you go. That was it for our trip, besides a mystery shop dinner in town before leaving, and a mostly-uneventful drive home. It was fun, and short and sweet, just the way I wanted it to be. I'm glad we went.
Maybe I'll get busy and post about Missouri later, after I finish these shop reports for our dinners tonight!