Athena and I planned to visit Loews Coronado Bay this week so we asked our friends to join us. We were pleasantly surprised when they agreed. We spend a lot of time together in Orange County but life is busy and a mid-week getaway isn’t always possible. From the playground and the beach to the pool and the restaurant, we had a fun-filled, toddler-friendly holiday.
We arrived on Wednesday just before dinner and took the shuttle up to the playground to burn off some energy before eating. It would have only been a five minute walk but a huge part of the fun for the kids is riding the shuttle. The playground was geared toward toddlers and had lots of space to run around. What everyone says about kids occupying themselves when they have a friend is true. Athena and her friend, Declan, ran off to climb and play leaving us time to relax and chat. Not that I mind, but I usually spend the entire time following Athena around and trying to play like a kid. This was obviously more rewarding for everyone. (Don’t mistake that for me saying I’m ready to have another child. We’re very happy with our current dynamic. If you make the comments, you’ll only encourage my poor mother who asks me daily. You wouldn’t want to put more of those thoughts in her head just yet.)
There are a few dinner options on site, but I’d recommend The Market Cafe for families. Kids are given a game system to play and the food choices are fantastic. Athena’s addiction with Mac & Cheese was quenched and I had an East Coast Lobster roll that brought me back home to eastern Canada without having to deal with the cold. Declan had nuggets and fries and his mother, Brenda had Rocky the Free Range Chicken. Once again, the kids occupied themselves and enjoyed their dinner. It was a very different experience for me. Darren and I are usually the ones entertaining Athena. I kept watching her and waiting for her to ask me to color or play a game, but she was busy playing with her friend.
The most fun we had was in the pool. We didn’t need to drive anywhere because the hotel provided a shuttle into town, to the playground, and to the beach. So, we had a couple drinks and played for the entire afternoon with the kids. Having another parent with me that understands a toddler’s behavior and needs was pure bliss.
Before leaving, we made sure to take a morning walk along the beach. The kids dove into the sand and had it all over their arms and legs within minutes. It must be wonderful to be as free-spirited as a child. Brenda and I watched hotel guests doing yoga on the beach and we found shells for the kids. I admire Brenda’s laid-back attitude towards life and her relaxed parenting skills. It calms me when I’m feeling anxious about Athena falling or getting hurt. I’d be a mess if I had a rough and tumble boy.
Our friendship with Brenda and Declan is the perfect situation for us as a family. Athena has a friend to play with and so do I, which is just as important. Even more amazing is that the husbands get along as well. It’s never easy to find a family that fits well with your lifestyle and personality. We’re starting to feel like we have extended family in California.