Gosh, I really love this time of year. There are so many great activities going on to celebrate the season. Lots of time this summer it was just too damn hot to do anything outdoors, so we’re really taking advantage of the foliage, crisp air and bright sunshine.
On Saturday, we worked on some odds and ends around the house and finally after C&W’s afternoon nap we went to see the optician to pick up Caleb’s “new” glasses. I say they’re “new” because they’re the exact same style as before, just with a new prescription. These ones aren’t all chewed up either, so fingers crossed it stays that way.
After we left the optician, we decided to hit up our local pumpkin patch to pick out our family pumpkins. Not only that, but I picked up some amazing apple butter, a caramel apple and 2 homemade apple cider donuts. Those donuts were life changing. I almost tried to talk Shane into buying a deep fryer so I can make them at home, they were that yummy! We didn’t spend a ton of time at the pumpkin patch since they were closing up shop for the day, but we got some cute pics with the boys. Wyatt toddled all around while I carried (an increasingly heavier) Caleb. The boys have really been enjoying the apple butter on their toast in the morning and I can’t wait to take them back to the corn maze and hay slide next year!
On Sunday, we headed to Cabin John Park for their “Eye Spy” Halloween Train. The train ride was geared toward kids 8 and younger. The 15-minute ride took us through the woods and the kids had to spot their favorite characters amongst the trees. We spotted Snoopy and Barney, Pooh Bear and Elmo and many, many more. Caleb just loved the movement of the train and Wyatt was very seriously staring down all the characters we rode past in the woods. Pretty par for the course. Wyatt’s favorite right now is flowers. He loves to say the word “flower” and points them out but with the leaves changing color, he thinks the bright leaves are his beloved “flowers.” It’s too cute. The boys loved the train and the expansive playground at this park. I have a feeling this will become another fall tradition in our family.
After the train, we drove into DC to take a tour of the West Wing of the White House. Shane’s friend work there and was nice enough to offer to give us a tour. What an amazing experience and I’m so happy the boys were able to tour the same halls that our past and current President have traveled. The West Wing is remarkably small. Lots of the doorways were smaller than the standard door size of present times, so we would have the Secret Service officers helping to open the second door (of a double door) in order to allow our double-wide stroller to fit through. There was one door, that we simply wouldn’t fit through, so we had to unload the boys and pass the stroller through sideways. Don’t mind us! Ha!
In the middle of our tour, I was carrying Wyatt and I felt the dreaded wetness on the side of his bum so I had to excuse myself to go change his diaper in the ladies room a few feet from the Oval Office. I was too scared to leave the dirty diaper in the trash so I took it with me. I must say it was the fanciest rest room I’ve ever changed my kid in. Not surprisingly they didn’t not have a baby changing station, so I made use of a long counter top. You do what you gotta do, right?
We rejoined our group in front of the Oval Office. When we were peering into the iconic space, Wyatt was dying to get out of my arms and run around. He saw a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers on an end table and desperately wanted a closer look. There was a Secret Service agent keeping a close eye that we didn’t cross the velvet rope into the office and I really didn’t want to find out what would happen if Wyatt took off so I tried my hardest to wrangle him and distract him as best I could.
The Cabinet Room and Roosevelt Room were two large meeting spaces. It was funny to see that the chair the President is meant to sit in is actually a couple inches taller than the rest of the chairs. The chairs for the Cabinet members actually has their department engraved on a small plaque on the back and get this… when a member is finished with their service, they have the option of purchasing their chair. Isn’t that funny? Nothing is given away for free!
My favorite part was all the large photographs that lined the walls of the West Wing. The White House photographer travels with the President and lots of memorable moments are captured and enlarged into these beautiful and inspiring photos. The selection changes all the time and White House staff have the opportunity to snatch up the ones that are coming down in order to display in their offices.
This one was one of the most memorable and has apparently been on the walls since it was taken in May. (Click on the photo to read the story behind the picture)
Just as we were standing and listening to our friend talk about some of the inaccuracies of the famous Washington Crossing the Delaware painting in the (very quiet) waiting room, Wyatt decided that a loud toot was in order. Shane and I turned red, but eventually everyone was laughing, thankfully.
We got to see part of the Rose Garden, where the infamous Beer Summit took place a few years agoand the path President Obama takes on his short commute to work (from the residence to the Oval Office). The Navy Mess (cafeteria) looks like a 5 star restaurant with it’s fancy table settings and fresh flowers. Most staffers just get their meals to-go from the carry-out window (much fancier than I’m describing).
We exited the guest entrance of the West Wing and walked to the nearby Press Briefing Room. This space was also smaller than I anticipated. There were about 40 chairs for reporters from all the major news agencies. Each agency name was engraved on a small plaque under the chair. The front row had all the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) along with Reuters and the Associated Press. We were able to take a few pictures in front of the President’s podium where he addresses the nation.
The entire experience was incredible. We are so thankful to Shane’s friend, Ryan for giving us the opportunity to see inside the West Wing, where few Americans can say they have ever been. Not to mention the fact that our little 15-month old boys will have these pictures forever.