"Room by room, in marble mantles and timeless portraits, we can trace the steps of the women and men who walked the White House floors — whose decisions rippled across the world," Jill Biden said in a recent speech
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President And Mrs Biden Return To The White House
From left: President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden walk on the Ellipse on May 23 in Washington, D.C.
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Now nearly a year into her husband's term, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is opening about about how she and President Joe Biden have been turning the White House into a home.

Dr. Biden, 70, spoke about the history and memories of their 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. residence at a gala held last Thursday in honor of the White House Historical Association, CNN reports.

"Room by room, in marble mantles and timeless portraits, we can trace the steps of the women and men who walked the White House floors — whose decisions rippled across the world," the first lady said, according to CNN. "And yet, in the shadows and slants of light, we can imagine those intimate moments that affected only those who felt them. The letters written in sitting room corners. The tumbling first steps of a grandchild or leisurely games of fetch with dogs on the South Lawn. The soft sounds of bedtime stories, floating down the hall." 

Like the long list presidents and first ladies that came before them, the Bidens are navigating how to make memories of their own in a place that doubles as a museum.

"It's surreal, but it's comfortable," President Biden, 78, told PEOPLE in January, days after moving in. "[I] spent a lot of time here in the Cabinet room and in the Oval with the president [Barack Obama], but upstairs is new. It didn't seem like that much was changing, including the Inauguration, until we walked through the door with our grandkids. It was like oh, I guess things have changed!"

According to CNN, Dr. Biden told the crowd at the gala on Thursday that the family celebrated their granddaughters' college graduation in the Blue Room. A celebration in honor of daughter Ashley's 40th birthday in June, meanwhile, was held in the Rose Garden.

The first lady — a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College — said she even grades her student's essays beneath "the burgundy oaks and maples blazing over the grounds" of Jacqueline Kennedy's garden.

Joe Biden, JILL BIDEN
From left: Joe and Jill Biden
| Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Soon, Dr. Biden said, the first couple will place a swing set on the White House grounds for their 2-year-old grandson, Beau.

"We're beginning to feel at home, like so many families before us," she said.

Dr. Biden's recent remarks come days after she reflected on the first ladies that came before her at the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy's National Summit on Adult Literacy held in October.

"I never could have imagined where my life would take me," she said then. "That one day I would eat dinner on china that Bess Truman picked out so many years ago. That I would wake up surrounded by priceless pieces of history. Or look out my window to see ancient Magnolias and Maple trees — artifacts of the great minds who built our nation and changed our world."

Noting that had previously spent time at the White House when her husband, served as vice president, Dr. Biden said that, still, "There's nothing that can prepare you to be first lady."