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Ultimate Guide: Great Pyramids w/ Kids

 

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Traveling Off the Beaten Path with Kids

When we announced our first pregnancy with our friends and family, they were delighted. Then, inevitably, the comments like, “Well, I guess that’s the end of your travel,” “You won’t be able to travel anymore once the baby comes,” and “Traveling with kids is just too expensive.” We politely objected, but nobody really believed us.

5 years and 12 countries later (including a second child born abroad), I think they finally understand that the wanderlust runs deep with us and our kids are delighted to come along for the adventure. No one batted an eye when we decided on a whim to take our 2 year old and newborn on a tour of Egypt for Christmas 2 years ago. The pictures just popped up in my TimeHop and I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.

The Great Pyramids of Giza

We spent over a week exploring Alexandria and Luxor, but no trip to Egypt would be complete without a trip to the Great Pyramids of Giza. We’re pretty experienced at traveling with small children (check out my husband’s blog for tips on traveling with kids). This was Bear’s first international vacation as we had just recently received his passport; he was 3 months old and his big brother was 2. We hired a fantastic guide {Emad Saleem from Memphis Tours} at the recommendation of our friend Paul, who had been there just a month earlier. Normally, I do all aspects of vacation planning and research myself but with a toddler and newborn I was happy to have a bit of help. He was so incredibly helpful at arranging transportation, haggling with vendors, finding great restaurants, and providing tickets and passes for our sightseeing.

We arrived at the pyramids at midday. Marc wanted to take Bird inside the pyramid, but the baby was hungry so I stayed at the base to nurse him. If you want to read about Marc’s experience taking a 2 year old inside the pyramid, check out his post here. I chatted with Emad and he took some photos of me and Bear. I met some interesting tourists from Russia and we chatted about the places we’d been; it turns out we were both in Mexico at the same time in the same small town during our honeymoon in 2005! Small world indeed.

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Mama and Bear at the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza
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Daddy and Bird at the top of the pyramid

After about 25 minutes the boys came out of the pyramid and we rode a camel over to the Great Sphinx of Giza. If you’ve never ridden a camel, it’s a pretty awkward means of travel. Especially when you’re wearing your baby in a mei tai baby carrier. I’m fairly seasoned at riding camels, as I live in the Middle East, but Egyptian camels are about twice the size of every other camel I’ve ever seen. Freaking huge. It’s not for the faint of heart!

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Babywearing on a camel–did I just invent a thing?!

The Great Sphinx of Giza

By this time, the kids were a bit tired and cranky. Note my 2 year old’s enthusiasm at posing for more pictures here:

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The reality of travel with kids.

The baby perked up a bit after nursing again (in case you were concerned that he is not positioned properly in the baby carrier, it was simply because I was wearing him low to breastfeed. We were taking so many photos, and I didn’t want to reposition the carrier each time we stopped for more). The opportunities for cheesy tourist photos were too tempting to pass up:

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Cheesy, I know. Sorry.  The baby looked up from his snack just long enough to be embarrassed by his mother for the first time ever.

Memories for a lifetime

We spent the remainder of the evening enjoying room service and wine on our balcony and reflecting on our day. Traveling with kids, especially babies and toddlers, is exhausting but so totally worth it. I recommend using a baby carrier, especially if you’re headed to an off-the-beaten-path place like Egypt. (Can you imagine us trying this with a stroller?) I have an extensive collection of baby wraps and carriers, but I brought this Infantino mei tai especially to donate to an Egyptian mother at the end of our trip. I found a sweet mama in rural Luxor who was struggling with her small kids and shopping and showed her how to position her older baby in a back carry. She was grateful, and I was grateful to have shared her beautiful country, so it was a win-win for both of us.

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Sunset with a view.

Has Egypt always been on your bucket list? Have you already stopped though? Please let me know in the comments and if you have any questions about our trip, just let me know.

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10 Ways To Rock New Year Resolutions

What are your New Year Resolutions this year? If you’re like most people, the list might say:

Lose Weight

Get Organized

Spend Less/Save More

Spend More Time With Family

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But, if you’re like the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions, you probably won’t be successful. According to StatisticBrain.com, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolutions. That’s not very inspiring, but I’m not recommending you give up and curl up with a tub of ice cream and bottle of wine just yet.

Most Common New Year Resolutions

The most common New Year Resolutions, according to StatisticBrain, are losing weight, getting organized, spending less/saving more, enjoying life, staying fit/healthy, learning something new, quitting smoking, helping others, falling in love, and spending more time with family. Time also includes traveling, getting out of debt, being less stressed, and drinking less. They’re all admirable goals, so why such a low success rate?

Why Do New Year Resolutions Fail?

Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, says that resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination,” an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, he says. Pychyl argues that people aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate. Another reason, says Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network, is that people set unrealistic goals and expectations in their resolutions.

Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified what they call the “false hope syndrome,” which means their resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves. This principle reflects that of making positive affirmations. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, the positive affirmations not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-esteem.

The other aspect of failed resolutions lies in the cause and effect relationship. You may think that if you lose weight, or reduce your debts, or exercise more, your entire life will change, and when it doesn’t, you may get discouraged and then you revert back to old behaviors. (PsychologyToday)

How to Be Successful With Resolutions

  1. Narrow your list. Choose one or two resolutions so you can focus your time and energy effectively.
  2. Set SMART goals. SMART stands for SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ACHIEVABLE, REALISTIC, TIMELY. A goal of losing weight is not SMART. A SMART goal for weight loss might be “I will lose 10 pounds within 60 days”. This one has been the most critical in my personal resolution success!
  3. Don’t wait for New Year for resolutions! If it’s March and you feel like you need to step back from technology and spend more time with your family, make a SMART goal and start right away!
  4. Take baby steps! You’re much more likely to be successful if you set small and reasonable goals. Once you reach them, you can set new goals.
  5. Have a buddy. A friend or family member that can encourage, motivate, and share your successes will increase your odds of success by up to 40%.
  6. Celebrate each mini success. Your goal was to lose 10 pounds and you lost 3? That’s cause for celebration…now keep going!
  7. Focus on creating new habits and ways of thinking. It takes 21 days to break or make a habit, right? If you make it 21 days, you’ve created new neural pathways that will make it easier to achieve this goal moving forward.
  8. Focus on today. It can be overwhelming to make changes and step out of your comfort zone! What can you do today to move toward your goal?
  9. Be positive. If you have a cigarette halfway through the month, focus on how good you felt in the days you stayed strong. Then let it go and keep going with your goal. Too many people give up (and smoke the whole pack, or eat the whole cake), but a small setback won’t keep you from achieving your goals if you stay positive and continue on with your goal.
  10. Surround yourself with like-minded people. Whether you’re going gluten free, Paleo, or trying 21 Day Fix, there’s a facebook group or meetup group of people with the same goals. The benefit of this is you’l find people at all stages of the journey, with lots of personal experience to share and loads of support and encouragement.

My Resolution

It’s an ongoing resolution, and one that I’ve been successful with each year for the past 4 years. I plan to inventory our material possessions at least once per season and donate or sell anything that we don’t truly want or need. Even though I’m mindful of making minimal purchases for the home (and we don’t do gifts for Christmas or birthdays), it’s still human nature to accumulate too much stuff. When we moved abroad, we sold and donated almost everything we owned, and started fresh. But each year, I find we’ve ended up with stuff we just don’t need. It takes a focused and mindful approach, but it keeps stress levels down, teaches the children that material things aren’t tied to our happiness, and has a lovely side effect of less work to tidy the house! In the spirit of accountability, I’ll take a photo of everything we purge this week and share it along with the details of my room-by-room-strategy.

Here’s to Your Success!

Please share your resolutions in the comments, along with the strategies that have led you to success in the past. Happy New Year!

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