Last year we attempted to get a tour of the White House at Christmas time but were told you need to sign up three months in advance. So this year we did. And we got a slot!

Taking advantage of Andy’s hotel points, we made a trip of it and stayed overnight at the Marriott just two blocks from the White House. We hate that he travels so much for work but every now and then it pays off.

We arrived in DC the morning before our White House tour and took in a full day of sights:

World War II Memorial:




Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial where we found Larry Kesler’s name, a relative who died in Pleiku:



We walked back up the mall to the American Heritage Museum:

After walking ourselves into the ground, we headed back to the hotel for swimming, dinner, and a coincidental front row view of the Presidential Motorcade as it drove by.

The view from our room at sunset:IMG_1759Trin loved the hotel so much that she wrote this note to leave behind:noteLove that kid! After finding this note, I decided we needed a picture with the chandeliers:lobbydc

The next day we were all up early! Long before sunrise. Our monkeys rise early when they are excited. At least that meant we got to watch the sun rise over the Washington and Jefferson Monuments. It was pretty spectacular. I felt like I was looking at a painting rather than the real thing out our window:


Soon we were off for our tour appointment. Lilly wondered allowed during one of the many security checks whether “Principal Obama” would be there. D.C. is way more fun with kids. 😉

When you look through these pictures, imagine a background of Christmas music being sung by a visiting African American choir echoing through all the halls. It was incredible.





Entrance hallway


Tribute to the puppies!



Chocolate and Gingerbread White House




Well worth it! There was so much I didn’t even take pictures of because there was so much to take in!

And our day was just beginning.

It included the Air and Space Museum, The Capital Building, The Supreme Court (or ‘Supreme Port’ as Lilly first called it), and the National Archives.

Whew! After such a busy couple of days, it is no wonder that Lilly passed out not five minutes into our drive home! You could spend a week in D.C. and not do everything there is to experience but we were happy with what we got done in our two busy days! And if you’re looking for advice on when to come, I would say mid-December is perfect! We had no big crowds anywhere we went and no lines at the Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta. Of course, we lucked out with gorgeous weather in the 60’s so it was perfect on ALL fronts. We are so thankful for our chance to see it all.