Toddler Fun Day at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas

Athena Enjoying Newport Coast Villas

Balancing my time well when traveling with Athena can be difficult. She needs time during the day to nap, she needs to eat regular meals, she needs more time to  get from place to place,  and she needs to be back at the hotel by 8 pm to go to bed. It’s a different kind of travel but it’s filled with it’s own type of rewards. During our stay at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas, she has been an excellent traveler with few complaints even when were out past her bedtime or when she’s missed an afternoon nap. She was calm when we waited several extra hours on the runway in Charlotte; she was patient when we were driving in L.A.’s rush hour traffic; and she was happy to meet the cast of Extra even though she has no idea who they are. It was her time to experience the rewards of Newport Coast Villas so yesterday’s time was completely dedicated to toddler-friendly activities. Surprisingly, I had as much fun as Athena. When she’s happy, I’m happy.

Waking up at 4 am has been the biggest challenge of the trip. Still not fully adjusted to the west coast time, Athena is waking up between 4 and 5 am daily. I wish that I could just adjust and go to bed earlier but it’s been a struggle on my end as well. 1 am nights don’t go well with 4 am mornings but Athena is so pleasant when she wakes up that’s it’s been bearable. The other problem with 4 am mornings it that there is not a lot to do when it’s still dark out. I wanted to be positive, though, and make the day about her so I made the best of it.

We started our day with a bubble bath in our bathing suits. The sand bucket and the shovel made for good tub toys and we splashed for at least an hour before drying off. Athena didn’t want to take her bathing suit off so I used the blow dryer to warm her up and we just left them on.

After breakfast, we watched Mickey Mouse Club House for an hour before going for a walk. Most guests at the resort were still in bed so we had free range of the property. Our first stop was the playground. The sun was just coming up and warming the slides.

Newport Coast VIllas Playground

Athena found her favorite slide and she was adventurous enough to go down without me. I don’t know when she changed from a newborn to a child. I almost cried when she let go of my hand and pushed her hands on the side of the slide to go faster. When people say, “don’t blink” they really are right.

The basketball courts are up the hill from the playground and Athena noticed a ball on the ground. She made her way up the hill and we played basketball. I think that my love of sports is already wearing off on her and I was proud when she threw the ball above her head.

Newport Coast Villas Basketball Court

Playing ball at Newport Coast Villas

Scheduled events started at 9 am with a movie in the theater room. Child-friendly, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2″ was playing; although Athena doesn’t sit through an entire movie, I thought it would be fun to watch for as long as it held her attention.

Movie at Newport Coast Villas

We only stayed for 20 minutes but it was enough time for me to get interested. I’ll most likely watch the entire movie when she goes to bed some evening. Even as an adult, I still love children’s movies.

Outside of the movie theater is a surf board mounted to a large plastic wave. I don’t know why Athena loved it so much but I couldn’t get her off it it. Between that and the gigantic swimming pool, we filled the better part of our day.

Surf Board at Marriott'sNewport Coast Villas

Marriott's Newport Coast Villas Pool

We made sure to be at the Koi Pond for the Family Welcome that included a treasure chest full of toys (Athena chose a coloring book), drink samples, munchies, and dancing mascots. In her red Minnie Mouse bathing suit, Athena danced and shook her booty with a shark and starfish. She was smiling from ear to ear when the shark spun her around and she kept saying, “Awwwww I love you Sharky.”

Dancing with the Mascots at Marriott's Newport Coast Villas

Build a Buddy was also high on the priority list. We filled a polar bear with stuffing and love and Athena named him Newport; we have the certificate to prove it. She chose three different color markers and we put dots all over his t-shirt to finish his attire. Athena is sleeping peacefully with Newport and he is part of the family now.

Build a Buddy at Marriott's Newport Coast Villas

Topping off the day with a sunset dinner on the patio, Athena and I were both exhausted. It didn’t take long for her to fall asleep and I wasn’t too far behind her.

Sunset at Marriott's Newport Coast Villas

Maybe Athena won’t remember our day together or that I tried to make it all about her, but it is shaping the young lady that she is becoming. When I see her interact with new people, she is polite, funny,and thoughtful already. She shares with other children, chats with adults, and recognizes love. Her small moments throughout the day like saying, “awwww; I love you Sharky” or sharing her bucket with another child in the pool show me the importance of our unique experiences and our relationship together. I’m already a proud mother and I look forward to the beautiful girl that she is becoming. Yesterday was a celebration of that.

35 thoughts on “Toddler Fun Day at Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas

  1. It does look like a wonderful day even with the very early start. I am amazed how fast she is growing up. It seems like just yesterday that you had her. Sure looks like a nice resort. Are you also house hunting while you are out there? All the best!


  2. You’ll be surprised at what a child can remember, Monk is 4 and she still brings up things from a couple of years ago. I do take lots of photographs of the kiddos and we look through them often, usually chatting about what went on. Looks like you two had a wonderful day!


  3. Your story of the delight of traveling with your toddler reminds me of my trip last summer with my daughter and my four year old and 17 month old granddaughters. Yes, naps and meals are a challenge but their delight with new experiences is not to be missed. They are good little travelers.


  4. I feel sure, that she will remember some of your many experiences together, even she is so young yet. Athena is growing so very fast Lesley, you really need to enjoy to be able to have her so close to you and able to follow all her new steps.


  5. It’s the little things that make parenting so special! Especially when we consciously allow an experience to be all about them. I forget that sometimes, so thanks for the great reminder!


  6. What an amazing childhood you are giving her! You will be surprised what they remember. Mine are old enough to have children of their own and what they do remember is time spent with them–just like you did today👑


  7. Thanks for liking my post. What a sweet and beautiful little girl. I’ll bet all of her patience with travel comes from mom and dad. It must be in the gene pool. It is a whole different ball game when you travel with children. But, worth the effort. Looks like a great time! Much love and light to you and have a blessed day!


  8. It is great that you are thoughtful and take the time to commit a day to your toddler 🙂 Kuddos! The time flies and before you know it you are hanging on to every moment they want to spend with you and hoping it isn’t the last time you are ” still cool enough”… Athena sounds like a lovely child with an incredibly bright future full of love and excitment and adventure…what more could any of us ask for 🙂 Thanks for sharing…and for the “mommy” smiles shared.


  9. You know this may be silly and I’m a sentimental old fool, but your description of your day with Athena made me cry. My “babies” are heading into their forties and my oldest granddaughter will be turning 18 on February 23rd and graduating from high school in May.

    Like you, I use pictures to hang on to my memories. I hope you also save your words, because you have found the perfect way to share your memories and will be able to pass them on to Athena in so much more detail than I ever could. The computer and the Internet have made It a wonderful time to be alive.


  10. Thanks for sharing. I have two young children, and to be honest, I’ve been a little afraid to travel with them. not just potential tantrums and safety but honestly, I’m a afraid I won’t enjoy kids “parks” or will become frustrated with lines. I really didn’t know there were places that wouldn’t drive me crazy (like Disneyland) that are set up for kids to enjoy as well. Do you have more posts about travel with your daughter?


  11. What a beautiful name: Athena! I love it. I have a wonderful toddler, too (Victor). Thanks for following my blog and for all the Likes over the months! Your blog is very well-done and your life seems like an amazing adventure! God bless you & your little girl!


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  13. It’s encouraging to see a couple including their young child in their various travels and adventures. My wife and I visited 5 countries in the first 3 years of our marriage and then put life on hold once we had our 2 children. It was a poor decision and it did not serve our relationship well. However, we’re moving forward and learning from the mistake. Reading your blog confirms that we’re not crazy to want to take our kids around the world with us (or at least if we are crazy, we’re not alone!).


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