Christmas in Cairo, Part Deux

Happy New Year! We had a really busy two weeks full of food, presents and family time. My mom arrived on the 21st and definitely made the most of her visit.

She brought some holiday cheer in the form of Christmas light necklaces, headbands, and one bag completely full of presents, crafts, and my Grandma’s famous peanut butter fudge.

She made crafts and tons of cookies with the kids.

       

We tried our best to get a decent photo of all three kids… It is what it is.

We marveled at the Christmas morning gift-opening aftermath and wondered where we would put ALL THAT STUFF. The size of our apartment already has us limiting the amount of toys that are out at one time and I had a toy-rotation even before the holidays began. So that continues to be challenge.

We took my mom around to the sites, visited a few pyramids, and Abby posed with another camel.

We played a lot of Guess Who?, which brought back some great childhood memories for me. Abby also received the game Outfoxed from her Aunt and Uncle in Kansas City, and it’s a really fun game for kids. Highly recommend.

Took my mom on a felucca ride on the Nile. The kids loved the ride but William was sad he didn’t see any crocodiles.

Didn’t want to let a whole holiday season pass with no snow, so we visited Ski Egypt, an indoor snowpark/skiing/tubing place at the Mall of Egypt.

Skiing in the desert. Go figure.

My mom constantly put JR and I to shame and gets an A plus for effort at all times. She even brought out some science experiments, including constructing and painting a volcano that they  “erupted“ outside the apartment.

JR and my mom took them to the Children’s Museum in Heliopolis. They learned about tombs, mummies (maybe a little too much detail on the mummies) and digging for artifacts.

We were really impressed with the ease in which my Mom became accustomed to Cairo. She downloaded Uber and WhatsApp and had no trouble making her way around our neighborhood. Which is amazing considering it took us months to feel at home.  She had several massages since she was, technically, on vacation.  She took Abby to the hair salon for blow outs, manicures, and they even went back a second time with William and both kids got haircuts. All in all, a pretty impressive showing by mom.

It really was so wonderful having her here and we can’t wait to see her again!

Come Visit (but call first)

More than a month (!) has passed since my sister visited us in October. I’m terribly behind on blogging but determined to catch up.

Abby was over the moon to pick up her Aunt Jamie at the airport.

Having my sister here was just the motivation we needed to cross off some major bucket list items in Cairo.

First and foremost, the pyramids! There are signs that say please do not climb, but you try keeping kids off of them while listening to a long-winded tour guide in 90 degree weather. I thought the weather would be much cooler. I thought we should semi-color coordinate our clothes and take a nice family photo for potential Christmas cards (something I haven’t managed to pull off in about 5 years). I had a vision. I thought we should have Jake come for the first part and then it’d be easy enough to send him home with the nanny.

I thought a lot of things and they were all wrong.

BUT! The pyramids were really cool to see. JR, my sister and the big kids actually went underneath one of the smaller ones in what our guide called “an Egyptian sauna”. I was especially impressed by the Solar Boat, this massive wooden boat that was found buried beneath giant stone pieces in front of one of the pyramids. Ancient Egyptians believed this vessel would carry the pharaoh into the afterlife.

We took my sister on a felucca (small boat) ride on the Nile and let the kids tag along. I went back and forth on whether or not I was supposed to put them in life jackets (which we don’t own) or at least a puddle jumper for William. But I’ve never seen anyone, American or Egyptian, do that so we felt reasonably safe with our adult-to-child ratio and just went for it. I’m much more concerned about crocodiles, to be honest. Sure, everyone says there are no crocodiles in this part of the Nile but everyone knows that:

 

We spent a morning shopping for bargains at the Khan, and since my sister is a foodie, she was excited to sample the different cuisines and restaurants here. She was also the first member of our family to visit the Egyptian Museum. The rest of us are holding out for the opening of the brand new one, which will hopefully open in 2020 (read more here).

The week went by too quickly, as it always does, but we are so grateful for the time spent together. Come back soon, Aunt Jamie!