Finally! Day 4 – The White House!
As with every other morning of the trip, I was up before everyone else. This particular morning, Spencer woke very early and he and daddy were sleeping together on the sofa. I showered, dressed and packed before anyone else was up. Then I went to wake Emily. She is SUCH her father’s daughter. I shook her gently, Emily… Emily… no reply. a bit harder and louder, Emily…. time to get up. She moaned and rolled away. Again… Finally she opens her eyes, looks at me and says, Mommy I am sleeping. I said, Emily, it is time to get up and go to Obama’s house. But mommy, I am sleeping. Visions of Emily in high school, Emily, math class started 30 minutes ago, but mommy, I am sleeping.
She said it with a tone of “why on earth would you consider waking me up when I am sleeping”,
But finally everyone was up and dressed. The car was packed, the White House in the GPS, and around 6am, we headed out. We parked, and walked and walked and walked. We had decided not to bring the stroller, assuming the kids would be overwhelmed and prefer to be in our arms. We were right on that account. They definitely wanted to be held. All three of them. And the walk to the line and the line itself was so long… Well, not bringing the stroller was a mistake.
First we waited in line to give out tickets. Then we went through security, got goodie bags and water bottles, and then we waited in line to get onto the South Lawn itself. All told, about an hour in line.
* these pictures are a combination of the camera and D’s cell phone. Most could have better lighting/better composition/etc. They are what they are…
The view from the line was pretty cool.
Once we got onto the grounds, Spencer and I visited “Slap Shot” the Capital’s mascot. Spencer was less than impressed.
We made our way up the south lawn towards the White House. I was holding Spencer and Emily was right by my side, holding on to the belt of my jacket. I get crowd claustrophobic in the best of situations, so this was really overwhelming for me, and the kids seemed to feel the same way. After about 5 minutes though, we got our stride and we all started to relax and we were even able to find places for pictures. Spencer is there, he is just hiding in my right arm.
It was really surreal. I mean how many people (other than the 30,000 that day) get that close to the White House? I know the twins won’t remember it, but Emily might. It was really a treat to share this with the kids.
It was also a treat for me to see how they responded to everything. Spencer was really not comfortable. I don’t think he took one step on his won and that boy is heavy! And that boy wanted his mama. I did trade off with D a few times, because he was simply to heavy for me to carry the whole time.
Sidney however, loved it! She made a new friend! Or rather, I should say, she met a friend that she already knew from her books. My fearless baby girl went right up to Curious George for a visit.
Then she and I together went to chat with George. Sidney found his nose and mouth and gave him a high five. Then all three of us waved and D, Spencer and Emily.
Our next stop was the actual Easter Egg roll. Waiting in line (which moved really fast) we were so close to the White House that we could see in the windows.
I stand corrected – Spencer did walk while rolling his egg. Sidney started off with a big lead, but then got derailed and sidetracked. Emily was the grand winner in our family.
In these pictures, Spencer started off more trying to scramble his (hard boiled and dyed) egg, than rolling it. He was more of a stabber than a roller. Emily took over helping Sidney when I took over as photographer. Finally, at the end, Sidney picked up her egg and went sideways across the lanes.
Next up was a visit to the Easter Bunnies. Emily told them all about Pepsi, her teacher’s pet bunny.
Then we made our way down to the lower lawn area.
And we posed for more pictures. Emily posed with the cardboard cutouts of the first dogs.
The volunteer taking family photos at the official WHEER sign admitted that in one shot he barely got Sidney and in another he cut off D’s head, but it was still nice to get a family photo, per se.
Our next stop was the fresh fruit stands, where each kid snagged a banana, which they enjoyed while watching Cookie Monster (Cook Cook) and Abby Cadaby and Rosita put on a little show.
As the show ended, the clock struck 9:30 and our allotted time slot came to an end. At the exit we were given boxes of peeps (odd choice given Michelle Obama’s campaign for healthy eating, and the theme of the day which was “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape”. Each of the kids also got an official White House Easter Egg.
(this is a picture from the Easter Egg Roll site, I went for expediency here, rather than taking my own picture. Each of my kids got the orange egg)
After the Easter Egg Roll, we hit the road for the long 8 hour trip home. 8 LONG hour trip home. We stopped in Jersey to stretch our legs and play in the wooded section of the rest stop. And watch the trucks of course.
The kids love rest stops, what can I say? Playing outside, running, climbing, and watching cars and trucks. The kids, however, do NOT like traffic. The last hour of our trip was spent in Connecticut rush hour. to those of you who don’t regularly experience Connecticut rush hour let me just say that it sucks. The final straw came with both girls screaming mad, literally, screaming. D was driving and grinding his teeth. And Spencer? He was sitting happily, oblivious to the rest of the world, singing the ABC song. It was surreal.
So the bottom line.
We had a fabulous little family vacation. The air mattresses alone have really freed us to do a lot more. We are never going anywhere by car that takes more than 3 hours, including traffic. But we really like traveling as a family. We really enjoy each others company. It was fun. A lot of fun. Not fun enough to do an 8 hour drive (that the GPS predicted would take 4.5) every again, but fun enough to take a 2-3 hour drive. Thanks guys for a great trip!