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Monday, April 13, 2009

Feeling the Pinch

Everyone,

Today was the Easter Egg Roll 2009. I was so excited about going. I think I must have told my family about it several times in the last few days. It was just so much fun last time.

So. Let's start at the beginning.

We stayed in the very nice (with a very sparkly lobby...lots of chandeliers) hotel downtown. Our view was amazing. You could see the Ellipse (the grassy area outside the White House, normally where we would be camping out) from the window. The Washington Monument was standing tall. I was up early enough to watch the sun rise. (Again! That makes it 2 times this week I've been downtown for the sun rise. It's lovely.) I sat in my very quiet hotel room, sipped my very good hot chocolate and just enjoyed the moment. Refreshing.

We didn't get the boys to bed last night until around 8:30pm. That's 2 and a half hours after their normal bed time. We had them set up in the closet in our hotel room so they would be alone and actually sleep. Juice made a tent out of some extra sheets and it seemed quite cozy. If only the boys thought so too. They screamed pretty hard to sleep. Butterfly didn't get to sleep until after 10pm. She is a loud sleeper. Professor woke up around 4am screaming. I brought him to bed with me and fed him in hopes he would fall back asleep. Nope. For a good hour he crawled all over me, poked in fingers up my nose, and generally wanted to play. He finally fell back asleep on the bed and I got another half hour or so of sleep before I had to wake up for breakfast.

I am a little jealous of Juice and all the traveling (without the kids) he gets to do for business. So I figured I would treat myself just a tiny bit to room service breakfast. Boy am I glad I did! I only ate half of it, with thoughts of sharing with everyone else. Juice had a few bites, Butterfly ate the rest.

We rushed out to the Egg Roll and had to walk so far around. I kept expecting to see tents like they had 2 years ago when we went. And an outdoor concert that you don't have to have tickets to see. 2 years ago they had breakfast for everyone outside. We were anticipating that and no one else had eaten.

We walked through a ton of lines, but they weren't too terrible. We scanned those hard earned tickets and said goodbye to Juice and my parents (no luck sneaking them in and yes we did think about it). It was very crowded and I think I told my sister in law (Angel) that it seemed more crowded than last year. We had a potty break, a baby break, and a few other breaks before we actually got into the venues.

We headed right for the egg roll and I was shocked at the huge line. Last time we walked right up, no line. I think we rolled our eggs twice back then. I figured it must be the first thing everyone was going to so we headed away from the White House to find something else to do.

Butterfly was cross. She was hungry I think. I kept expecting candy at the exits of all the little things they have. Nothing. Not even raisins. Just a lot of posters. Butterfly flatly refused to make a jump rope (I wanted her too, they looked cool!) but seemed to perk up at the prospect of face painting. The line was short. She got a blue and white egg on her cheek.

We glanced at the line for the egg hunt. Way way too long. We decided to go back up to the egg roll and try our hand at that. On the way, we took a few pictures in front of the White House (other people took them) and met one of the lesser known presidents...I can't remember which one. We posed for a picture together but the photographer is obviously camera inept because the picture is not there. I don't think he pushed the button down hard enough.

Back to the egg roll. The line was worse than before. And we only had an hour or so left to hang out there before they were reportedly going to kick us out. We decided to hang out in line and do the roll since that is what we got tickets to do. Butterfly amused herself by stacking the yoga blocks into a tower and knocking them down. Several times. We waited in that line for 45 minutes. Gah.

When we got there, they were rushing around trying to get people through as fast as possible. I hauled out my boys (Pirate was so tired and sleeping in the top of my stroller and Professor had just woken up from an hour long nap) and put them down in front of an egg. They stared at it. They looked at the spoon. And then the grass. And then Pirate laid down on the grass and started sucking his thumb.

Butterfly whacked her egg pretty good but kept whacking it out of her line. Then she threw a fit because she was not the winner. Sigh. There was no candy to appease her either! I made her go back up to the top of the roll so I could get some pictures of the boys. The people told me I had to go since the next race was starting. I told them no, laid down on the grass and took some pictures of the boys. They are not good pictures. But they will have to do. We were there through another race and Butterfly didn't want to try again.

By now, they had made the announcement that we needed to clear the lawn. What?! We had been there maybe 2 hours and had done basically nothing. Juice reminds me that I waited in lines. Yes, we did. We also listened to the Imagination Movers and saw Handy Manny from the back.

I finally shoved Butterfly to the front of the line with the jump rope making and took a rope for her and an extra. I filled my pockets with beads to build the rope and they told us we had to leave. Fine. Be that way.

We joined the mass exodus out of the egg roll. I was excited for this part because last time we got a big goody bag and a book and a wooden egg. This time, we left with no goody bag. Not even an egg! I had to ask where they were doing that and they had blocked off a parking lot outside of the White House grounds to pass out eggs. Only the kids got eggs. Adults did not get one. But I think this might be the first year that you can buy eggs so I bought one for my Mom to match what the kids got. I wish she could have gone with us.

In summary, I think the Easter Egg Roll is feeling pressure from the economy too. No candy, no goody bags, no books. TONS more people, a lot more lines. More structure, less fun.

Still it was an experience. I think I will try to get tickets again next year. If it's like this, I have a few strategies. One of the reasons why everyone had to leave was that they weren't going to give you an egg unless you exited within 15 minutes of the closing time. That suggests to me that they don't MAKE you leave. If you miss out on getting your egg, you can just buy one like we did. I would stay through the exit and make sure we were able to do everything. I would only get the earliest tickets of the day because I hear from a few of my friends that went that they waited 2 hours to get in and only got to spend 45 minutes on the lawn. Not long enough to do anything. I would also feed everyone more food and get more sleep.

I really do hope that since this is the Obamas' first Egg Roll that things will improve. But this time around, kinda sucked. Too many people, too little time.

The rest of the day was spent feeding everyone and getting back home. We are all exhausted from the "fun". Still, the boys did great, and Butterfly did as expected.

More fun will be had tomorrow, and probably a lot less to say. (Anie, this post is for you.)

Safire

PS- Pictures later, I'm tired!

8 comments:

  1. I'm sorry it turned out so, um, different. Now I feel bad about all the whining I did for not getting in. I think I would be more mad about the effort with my 5 kids. ;)

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  2. man! I have been waiting for this post ALL DAY! Well, since I got home from the roll, I mean LINES!! LINES LINES ADN MORE LINES! We only have 45 minutes. That was MY group! I bet YOURE group s the ONLY one who got 2 full hrs!!! =)

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  3. You crack me up!!! THANK YOU for the nicely detailed post! I read every bit of it! Sounds a lot like our day- but at least you guys actually got to do some of the activities (and didn't have to hassle with the Metro ride INTO the city)!!! Becky and Candis DID get to do the roll, but that's ALL they had time for. Oh, and if you wait around and try to get into other activities after your time slot is over, they'll tell you it's closed and NOT let you do it (so I heard). I was also bummed about the NO FOOD! I remember you telling me about the free breakfast. So I figured it was no big deal if I didn't bring food for Madi. WRONG!! We were starving- and I didn't want to buy the food that was being sold outside the gates. I think I ate for 2 hours straight after getting home! :) I was hoping for candy too and a goody bag on the way out! BUMMER!!! At least it wasn't just a let down for me! Enjoy the rest of your week! Looking forward to hearing about all your family fun!!

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  4. what a riot ... to think of what all you moms went through and got so little in return ... could this be a prelude of what's to come with O's administration???
    I love that u stood ur ground, er grass, and took ur pics despite those pesky staffers who repeatedly tried to usher u off the lawn.
    bummer u can't remember which past pres. u took a pic with, unless u were just joking, were u?

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  5. Awww -- sorry it wasn't as planned -- I hope you will still be sharing some pictures though!

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  6. I was one of the people who got a 45 minute time slot and TONS of line, and NO stuff. I was going to stay past my time slot to do more stuff - forget the wooden egg, but NO they closed down the egg hunt and the face painting and everything! I left the white house lawn with a poster and a wooden egg. ARGH! I am glad you at least got your two hours!!

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  7. That stinks to have a great experience and then try to repeat it and have it not go as well, but it sounds like you made the best of it! I hope the Obamas get their act together and do a better job next time. Sounds like a fun thing to do, so since J is often in DC for work maybe we'll try to tag along next year at Easter? It could happen. Can't wait to see pics!

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  8. Okay, I want to know what President you forgot about! LOL

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I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. --Helen Keller