(I apologize in advance for the amount of photos of me in this post.)
The birthday is over. The Beach house is now quiet. Thank you all for your great participation! It was a really fun party for me to host! Y'all are great guests!
So I bailed earlier than I expected Friday evening, but with good reason. My husband threw me a huge surprise party. Though I expected to take a brief blog break for dinner with my parents, it turned into a weekend-long celebration.
For the last year he has been plotting this party, which, until I was thrust in the middle of, I had not even the least inkling of. I went, unsuspecting, to dinner at my parents' house. I walked in to find a room full of some of my most favorite people in the world: people who live all over the United States, some of whom I haven't seen in years.
That's right. He gathered my best friends from the past 30 years in one room for my 40th birthday.
So Friday was dinner and catching up with friends. Until 4 in the morning. Saturday we were up early for brunch, and then into DC for a late lunch on the Potomac. The day was incredible. 78 degrees, sunny, a warm breeze. It was the absolute perfect day for sitting out eating crab and watching sailboats and windsurfers and airplanes landing at National Airport. Here's the hubs and me:
After that, we headed downtown for a private tour of the West Wing of the White House. Does it get much better than that?? I can never get used to the connections he has. He will always be that army tanker I fell in love with 17 years ago.
We started at the Old Executive Office Building: a gorgeous old building where most of the staff of the White House works, along with key personnel, as well as the place many of the president's meetings take place. (The White House, and in particular the West Wing, is actually pretty small, with only two small meeting rooms).
Here is my husband and I on the balcony where a very famous photo of President Roosevelt was taken. I have a photo of the photo, but I thought I'd spare you that!
That balcony is right outside of this room:
If I have the history right, this room used to be the Vice President's Office until just recent years. During the Johnson and Nixon years, it was also used by the President instead of the Oval Office for daily use, the feeling that the Oval Office was too ceremonial and formal. It's now used as a meeting room.
The architecture is incredible. I have lots of photos of incredible hallways and intricate hinges and ornate moldings, but this is my favorite: a grand four story circular staircase that ended at the top in a fantastic dome.
You take these stairs out the OEOB:
and across the alley to the back entrance of the West Wing:
I am sad to say my photo tour ends here, as cameras aren't allowed in the West Wing. But we got to see the Situation Room, which was beyond cool, and the kitchen, as well as the two meeting rooms which I recognized from every movie every made that involves the President.
We saw the Rose Garden and, of course, the Oval Office. Amazing, really, is all I can say. The hubs told me to drop my earring so he could hunt around the Resolute Desk for the hidden panel, but we didn't get that close to the famous desk. :) We did see the photos of the Obamas on the credenza, though.
Oh, and the Obamas. All four of them. Walking the dog in the Rose Garden.
As soon as allowed, the cameras came back out. Here we are at the other entrance:
We were allowed to have cameras in the press room, though. That figures, eh?
And here is my favorite man, looking ever the part of the president:
From beach house to White House. What a way to bring in a new decade of my life.