Sunday, March 30, 2008

We Love Egg Rolls!

I know Easter was last week. Did you know that? Anyway, this is going to be an(other) Easter post for two reasons - 1. family history and 2. for all those people out there googling for information on the White House Easter Egg Roll. When I was trying decide if it would be worth it to spend the night on the sidewalk for tickets to take my 2 and 4-year-olds to the event, I was searching madly for any information that might indicate age appropriateness or the types of activities and things going on - basically, what it was like to go. All that kept coming up in my searches was about gay and lesbian families making a stand a couple of years ago and lining up to get in. Well, that's all well and good for them, but that didn't help me AT ALL. At All. So, when we decided to just jump in and go this year, I had in mind that I would be making this post. So here it is. In all it's glory. And it's really long. Hey, I'm doing this for you, so don't complain.
First, let me say that after we decided to go this year, we actually decided not to go. You have to spend the night on the sidewalk on Friday night to get tickets on Saturday morning for the event on Monday morning. I was already a little apprehensive, having found no helpful information on what I should plan on or bring with me, and no one to go with. Dave or I were both willing to go, but several of our friends were going to be out of town, so when we saw the weather wasn't looking good on Friday night or Monday morning, we gave up hope. BUT then a ray of sunshine! I talked to one of our friends on Saturday afternoon who had gone down and had gotten tickets and had extras. And she offered some to us! So, unfortunately, I still don't have information on spending the night outside, but maybe next year.
First, transportation. We opted to drive rather than take the metro. We weren't bringing a stroller, but we wanted to bring coats, etc to be prepared for bad weather. We also wanted to bring a lunch, and outside food is not allowed onto the grounds. And we weren't supposed to bring back packs or big bags (I think this is just to aid in speeding up entry, because they search all the diaper bags, etc.) So, we brought our car and left all that stuff inside. Traffic wasn't bad at all. We parked in a PMI garage for $18 (for the day) that was two blocks away on G Street and 14th. It was pretty full, but finding a spot wasn't really a problem. We thought about going down to the free parking near the Mall, but we drug a nine month pregnant friend with us, and I didn't want to be responsible for her going into labor (although, she may have appreciated it). They also recommend that you arrive 45 minutes early, and we were right on time, so I didn't want to spend the extra time driving around looking for a spot.
45 minutes early onto the ellipse got us a free breakfast/brunch/lunch (for us it was brunch at 10:15) of eggs wrapped in tortillas, fruit cups, bananas, pineapple juice, and raisins. We had time to eat, listen to a dj playing kids music, play with a parachute, and then wander on over to the "11am tent", which we stood inside for about 15 minutes (no line, order didn't really matter). At 11, our group left the tent, went seamlessly through the security check, and into the front yard (or maybe it's the back yard) of The White House. The one. This was pretty cool for me. Having grown up on the west coast, I wasn't positive the White House really existed. That and things like George Washington could have all been out of some elaborately constructed novel for all I knew. I've seen it several times in the past few years, but it really never ceases to amaze me. It's a beautiful home. With so much history. Anyways...
We spent about two and a half hours (which felt like 4 or 5 hours), and here they are:
Ted Kennedy.
Actually, that's Mrs. Barbara Bush. I saw her up on the second level up there, and told Dave, "Oh, look. There's Mrs. Bush."
To which he replied, "No, it isn't. That's Ted Kennedy....(long pause)... OH!, Mrs. Barbara Bush."
Oops. Well, to be fair, he wasn't wearing glasses.

Dave and the kids in front of the White House. Seriously. Isn't this cool. And I believe that's "The President's Own" Marine Corps band up there on the first level, who played throughout the morning. They even had a really cool jazz band.

Here we are. In front of the White House. Hello from the White House.

Okay, back to business. There were tons of "characters" all over the place to take pictures with. Evie loved it. She just ran around wanting pictures with all of them. One of the first things we saw when we came in was Strawberry Shortcake. Well, Evelynn just happens to love Strawberry Shortcake. Love. She was walking (almost running) towards the staff area for a break, but I gave Evie the okay to chase her down. The man escorting her and Orange Blossom here, saw Evie and let her come into the staff area for a picture. After that, we were all satisfied, so we left to go home. Okay, so we didn't, but we probably could have.
And here she is with "the girl Easter bunny."

And with William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes (I think they are just dressed like the time period, because they don't look much like those guys).

And the White House. (This one is to use in one of those slide shows of growing up when she runs for President.)

Some of the characters had long lines to take pictures with them, so we opted for other entertainment like this cool yo-yo guy doing tricks.

And giving out free yo-yos.

Or, we did what any other parent would do when their child wanted a picture with Clifford, but they didn't want to wait in line. We took the picture anyway. I'm still a good mom right?

Actually, almost everything had a line - the egg hunt, egg coloring, photo opportunities. We only waited in line for the egg roll. Our kids were young enough, that they didn't know what they were missing and had tons of fun anyway. Especially rolling down this hill. It was one of the best parts of the day. I don't know how it would be with older kids.
But there were a lot of other fun things going on too. Like magicians and musicians, wild animal encounters. There was a reading stage where prominent people, authors, and celebrities read children's books. I really would have liked to have seen Troy Aikman, or Laura or Jenna Bush, but I think they were there earlier in the morning. The White House website has information on who will be there, but there really isn't a schedule anywhere. You just kind of have to be a detective. We used our detective skills to find out the Mickey Mouse would be on at 12:15, so we went over at around noon to catch the end of Elmo while we waited. The problem was that the Jonas Brothers were going to be playing at 1:20, so there were tween girls four rows deep in front of us, and pushing and shoving all around me with my child on my shoulders and my camera in hand, trying to be in front when they came on. Come on people. Let us watch Mickey Mouse! It's funny, because when I was younger, I was all about the pushing and shoving to get to the front of some place, but now that I have my kids... I need my space. I think it's a protective thing. So, I think that part was maybe not well planned, but I don't know what would have been better. Some people said it was the same way for Hannah Montana last year, so they probably know what they are doing, and you just have to decide if watching Mickey Mouse is worth being in the middle of a crowd of high pitched screaming whenever they see the shirt tail of a 14 year old rock star. For us it was. Worth it. (can we say Disneyworld anyone?)

And here is the actual "egg roll". A giant plastic spoon pushing a hard cooked egg down a line about 10 feet. The line moved quickly, the kids got a piece of candy after. I thought it was pretty cool, but I like quirky little things like that. I could see how it might be anti-climatic. They move you through pretty quickly though. If you want to get pictures from the finish line, you better run. They blew the whistle before I got there (and I was running). Go Evie!
(and by the way, Dave disagrees with me, but I think we were a little underdressed. Probably one in five people were wearing jeans. Everyone else was in nice pants or dressed. Some really nice dresses. In some ways it was nice, because the kids could roll down the hill, and stuff, but I'm sure the nice clothes are good for pictures. Anyway, just letting you know.)

And this was Owen during the egg roll. Actually, this was Owen pretty much the whole time. He didn't want to roll the egg, he didn't want pictures with anyone. He just wanted us to hold him. Little cutie.

And here we are in front of the White House again. Good bye from the White House.


Robinson Duo said...

What a fun activity! Were the Cherry Blossoms out?

Amelia said...

That was very informative! Thanks Sj, for all your "research" into things that I want to do but am too lazy to figure out! Let's just cross our fingers that easter doesn't happen to be on the week of spring break next year!

Sjauna said...

There were some cherry blossoms out, but we didn't make it down to the tidal basin that day. We went again on Saturday though, and that post is coming up!