I was overwhelmed and thrilled when my cousin Joni Hearne, who taught with Laura Bush in Austin,  called to ask me if I would like to attend a Christmas Party at the White House and meet the President and The First Lady.  It took me one nano-second to say YES! 

  Plans we made to arrive Monday to give us time to wind down (and make sure we made it on time).  We took the opportunity to tour Washington D.C. Of particular interest was the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witnessing a military funeral with the Marine Band and the horse drawn casket. It was a misty, cold, ominous day which added to the ambience of the scene. It made me appreciate even more what these men and women have done to preserve our country's freedom.

  That evening, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner with friends, Melinda Estridge and her husband Bob O'Toole who sell real estate for Long and Foster in the Chevy Chase area.  Melinda outdid herself preparing a gourmet meal for Joni, me and some other friends/distant relatives Mark and Debbie Neidig who have recently moved to the DC area.Dinner was followed by a vibrant conversation and CHOCOLATE!

  Tuesday we slept in a little and then had lunch at to Old Ebbitt Grill and then off to the Holocaust Museum!  Then home to ready ourselves for the big night! 

  THE BIG NIGHT...began with a security inspection ..of course..followed by the long walk to the stairs leading to the reception room donned with all the Christmas you have ever seen in your life.  As we entered the room, the Marine Corp Band played carols and military personal greeted us. It was like a combination of a winter wonderland and Cinderella's castle..which is who I felt like most of the night, always knowing that I was going to have to wake up at some point!

  From the reception hall we were allowed to roam freely in and out of all the rooms,  gazing at the ornaments Christmas trees, garlands..not to mention the awesome portraits and furniture ..which we were allowed to sit on!  At each end of the grand hall, off of which are the red room, green room, and blue room, are the East reception Hall and the State Dining Room.  Tables longer than you can imagine stretched from one end of the room to the other. Round tables displayed  the incredible pastries, including Christmas cookie cutouts of Barnie. Silver candelabras, crystal chandeliers,gorgeous woodwork and flowing valances at the windows made you know that this IS the President of the United States' home and we were there!

  Finally the time had arrived for us to meet the President and the First Lady.  I turned into a mush mouth when I was introduced to The President by the military person escorting me. I think I said something like " I am so excited to meet you ..I don't know what to say!"  and he graciously said " This is really fun isn't it?"  I think I whimpered out a "Yea"  and the President held my hand while the White House Photographer snapped our picture ( which I understand from my cousin that I will receive later - signed) We were then escorted to the China room and I immediately went to the ladies rest room! Yikes!

  It was the thrill of a lifetime something I will never forget and I am so thankful that my cousin invited me!

  We toured more the next day..going to the Mint, the Old Post Office with its great views, and the Air and Space Museum.

  It was a wonderful week! Here are some pictures I wanted to share with you...(I'm told the pictures of me and President Bush should arrive soon. I will post also as soon as I receive...)