We left the U.S. on July 5th, and about 24 hours later we arrived in Cairo. A trip like that is definitely not a good time when traveling with small children, but we survived it! 🤪💪🏻😴 We flew from Illinois to Paris, where we had a five hour layover, and then we had a four hour flight to Cairo.
Rhys LOVED watching the bags moving along the belt.
Rhys only slept about two hours on the overnight flight to Paris, but he somehow had plenty of energy. Ian slept the last few hours of that flight, but he was NOT happy to be woken up when we got there.
We found a quiet spot in the Charles de Gaulle airport lounge, where some of us were able to get a little sleep. We took turns entertaining Rhys, who had no interest in sleeping, whatsoever.
After 24 hours in transit, we were beyond exhausted, and we were very grateful for the VIP service that had been arranged for us. We were greeted just after we got off the plane by someone from Ahlan VIP Services, who took us in a private car directly to their airport lounge. They handled border control, visas and baggage collection while we waited in the lounge and helped ourselves to complimentary snacks and drinks.
So, yeah. I was soaked. We just stood there for a minute, having no idea what to do. Finally I made my way to the family bathroom, where I hid until Bea brought me a change of clothes. Bea told the cleaning ladies about the situation (they didn't really understand until they followed her to the bathroom). I apologized, but they didn't seem to think it was a big deal. They laughed at my soggy state, and then they apologized for laughing. 🤷♀️ But seriously...what is the point of a stream of water that shoots ten feet across the room?!
When it was time to leave the airport, we were SO ready to get to the hotel. A mini bus arrived for us, and the driver and the Ahlan guys were able to get all our bags into the back. When we got to the Tolip El Galaa hotel, we dropped into bed exhausted and slept until 11:00 the next morning.
^^The view from our hotel
We spent two days in Cairo, taking care of moving-in necessities. We signed the lease for our apartment (Bea and the boys were excited to see it for the first time), and we settled all our suitcases at a friend's apartment for the summer (we'll pick them up when we get back in August).
^^We managed to spend an hour at the Cairo Festival City Mall, where the boys were happy to get McDonald's for lunch. 😬Bea and Kevin got Chinese. I got Sbarro, but it didn't taste like the real thing.
^^This is the front yard of our new apartment. We can't wait to move in and get settled.
It's time for another adventure! This time we're headed to the land of pharaohs and pyramids...we're moving to Egypt! After four years in Raleigh, North Carolina, we got the itch to live abroad again, so we'll be heading to Cairo this summer.
Kevin will be an assistant principal at Hayah International Academy, and Beatrix will be doing the IB program at the same school. I will be staying home with the boys for awhile, but I may start teaching later in the year. Serena is planning to take a year off from school and come to Egypt in the winter.
We are so excited to have the chance to live in such an incredible place, filled with so much history. Kevin and I went to visit in April, to see the school and decide which area we wanted to live in. Everyone was so friendly, and we loved our visit.
While Kevin was in meetings, the husband of one of the teachers took me to Khan al Khalili - the famous souq (marketplace) in the bazaar district. He speaks Arabic and has lived in Cairo for awhile, so it was like having my own personal tour guide. It was exciting and fascinating to spend the morning walking around Cairo, and I was able to buy some souvenirs for the kids back at home. I'm looking forward to shopping once we're settled in.
I'm finally getting around to sharing the photos from Rhys' newborn shoot! We've never done newborn photos before, so it was a whole new experience for us, but I'm so glad we did it. I found a photographer in Raleigh who has been doing newborn photos for 14 years (MichelleStudios), and I was so impressed by the way she handled Rhys. She really has a magic touch. The weather was perfect to get a lot of shots outside in her "fairy garden." I couldn't believe how well Rhys slept through all the moving and positioning. We did the shoot when he was 10 days old - still in the sleepy phase - but still! My mom was in town, helping us with Rhys, so she came along, and Kevin stayed home with Ian.
On September 20th, baby Rhys was born at 4:59 pm. The last four weeks have flown by in a blur (probably due in part to the lack of sleep), and we're settling into life as a family of six. I went into labor the day after my mom arrived - I think my body was waiting until she was here, because we didn't have much of a backup plan for what we would do with Ian while we were at the hospital. The delivery was fairly quick, and we were home two days later. Ian and the girls have all been really sweet with their new baby brother. Here are some photos from Rhys' first days and life lately.
One of the top things parents of toddlers worry about is food. Is the kid eating enough? Is he eating too much? Too many snacks? Not eating vegetables? Only eating bread? Toddlers are known for being picky eaters, but there are ways to help ensure that they develop a taste for healthy foods and don't become picky eaters for life.
It's ironic that food is one area that has gone really well for us with Ian, since I'm a pretty picky eater, but I give credit for our success to the French feeding habits that we've implemented. The French have a whole different attitude towards food and meals, and French kids just aren't picky eaters. If you're dealing with a picky toddler or wanting to help your baby sail through toddlerhood without stressing about food, check out some of the tips I've borrowed from the French.
Moving from America to France with two preteen girls, two dogs and a cat was an incredible adventure. After four years living just outside of Paris, the Family McLean headed back to the U.S. (minus the cat, but with a new baby boy). Four years later, we're leaving Raleigh, NC, and heading to Egypt (with another little boy in tow...)