Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

We have lots to update you on, but wanted to send you a quick "Merry Christmas Greeting" from our family to yours. Sadie Mac had a great first Christmas. After we read the Christmas Story in bed, we all got up and she was excited to see (but really had no idea) about her first Christmas presents! She got a Bedouin tent from Egypt and a fun ducky bathtub (from her aunt Nikki... that we've just kept until now!!) After that we went to have lunch with several good friends (like family) here in the Sandbox. We truly had a blessed Christmas and hope all of you did as well! It was even a little chilly this morning... around 65 or so!!! Well, we will take what we get! We will post pictures when we can!

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Eid

Well, the "holidays" for us now have a very different meaning as we live on this side of the world. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we are celebrating a holiday with our friends and neighbors where they slaughter goats due to their religious teachings. We feasted for 3 days in a row on lamb (or goat, not sure which) =) along with other traditional foods from this land. In the tradition, they kill a goat in the front of their house. When our neighbors did this, they called to see if we wanted to come watch. So, of course we did and they let us take pics to share!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Egg + Nog= Good Stuff!

Today we continued to carry on our family tradition of making homemade eggnog... mmm, the good stuff! Since I was a little girl, I can always remember doing this every Christmas season! Sure, some say it is disgusting to eat raw eggs, milk, ice cream and sugar (with a few other secret ingredients!)... but when it tastes this good, you can't pass it up! Stephen loves making it and was so excited he was even talking about it in his sleep last night! We've also been doing some Christmas decorating and we made Sadie Mac check the bulbs. :-) We know she was thinking... what is this guys?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope each of you had a wonderful Turkey Day... as did we. Unfortunately here in Sandland, they don't so much celebrate the Indians and the Pilgrims, so Stephen had to go to school... sad for him! We were able to enjoy turkey this year, unlike last year when we just had chicken! Someone has recently returned from the States and shared with the rest of us. We were with a large gathering of khawaajas (foreigners)and enjoyed all the fixings: mashed potatoes and gravy, something like sweet potatoes and something like green bean casserole too! Sadly no yeast rolls though! Sadie Mac enjoyed her first turkey day and dressed up for the occasion.(see pic below) Yes, this may look like an Easter dress, but considering it is still in the 90's, we thought she could rock the summer look for Thanksgiving. She pulled it off pretty well. We ignore the whole "no white after labor day" thing!! She also had her 4 month check up this week and we are thankful she is now 14 lbs and 25 inches. All is well with her!

We sure do miss our families...and the snow and cold weather this time of year back home, but look back at 2008 and feel truly blessed for our lives here and the blessing of our precious Sadie McLean. We are thankful for the support of family and friends, good health and the grace we find each day from our precious Savior and King.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ready... Set... Roll!

Well, it's been a few weeks, but I'm just now getting around to putting it on the blog! Yep, we now have a "mover and shaker" on our hands. She is so amazing to watch grow and change every day... I just want her to stay little!! But, we are learning how each day is a new adventure and not to take it for granted.

In other news... I (Amanda) spent the weekend sewing curtains for the house and making homemade salsa!! It was delicious. To be honest, I have been missing Chili's and we've only been out of Egypt a month! I love my chips and salsa!

It's no Chili's... but it will do.

Please, call me "Holly Homemaker" :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our Pumpkin Wore a Watermelon Costume!

The only thing I can think of is... "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" Here we say, "when you have no pumpkins, use a watermelon!" We just don't know what to do with all the seeds! Being Sadie's first Halloween and our family tradition is to carve a pumpkin... we had to make due. We all enjoyed carving Sadie's first watermelon and know that when she goes back to America and people are carving pumpkins, she is going to be really confused. But regardless, we had a great time... no dressing up or going to the neighbors for trick or treating... just watermelon carving. Hope everybody had a great one and Matthew had a good birthday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Weight Watchers... at 3 Months?!?

Well, Sadie Mac is now 3 months old and we are proud of how she is growing. Since we live in the sandbox and doctors and "official means to measure" are scarce, we have to do the best we can to measure her!! (We are doing the best to "watch her weight"!) We have decided to keep track of her weight by using a luggage weigher and her "kangaroo sling". She loves it! Check out her little feet kicking. We measure her length by the quilt squares on our bed. :-) We're not big on exact measurements :-), but we are keeping a chart! She is healthy and happy and that is all we could ask for. She is now holding her head up and giggling often! A precious little treasure that discovers new things every day and we love discovering them with her!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Because it's so hot here, the best way to carry a cute little baby is to sling her up! Thankfully a friend gave me a sewing machine and I learned online how to make a sling for my Sadie Mac. (

A few days ago I was planning on going shopping with my neighbor for curtains and she asked if I was going to bring Sadie Mac and if I had a "kangaroo". It took me a second, but I knew exactly what she was talking about. So, now I carry around my little kangaroo everywhere I go and the people here love it... and so does she (check out that smile) !

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting back in the swing of things...

We are back home and are all getting adjusted to the average 105+ temperatures. Sadie Mac has done great and is enjoying her little "johnny jumper". She is a bit small for it, but will at least stay in it for about 4 minutes. Then, she gets tired of holding her head up, so we call it quits! We also took her to school for the first time so she could meet our teachers. Sadie Mac did great on her first rickshaw ride! She enjoyed the soothing motor and slept through it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back home in the Sandbox

Well, everything is looking good and are back home in the Sandbox. When we started our packing Sadie Mac seemed ready to go! We went for her two month check up and she is doing great. She has grown 2 more inches (now 23”) and has gained 3 more lbs. (11 lbs.). The doctor said she looks great.
All this means we could go home. Everyone is ready to meet little Miss Sadie McLean and we are ready to get back to studying “our Arabic”. We have lots of new things in our suitcase thanks to grandparents and others who came to visit and sent packages.

We have had a wonderful time here in Egypt and are so thankful for time with friends and the birth of our little angel. The Lord is so good to us and we see His hand all over her. The day she was born the only thing I could think of to sing to her was the Chris Tomlin song, You Do All Things Well. This is the chorus:

You made it all –
Said, “Let there be… “
…and there was all that we see.
The sound of Your voice,
the works of Your hands,
You do all things well
You do all things well.

As we look at the gift God has blessed us with we cannot deny that He is amazing and His works reflect Him beauty. Sadie Mac is a work of His Hand… and He sure did a wonderful job.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Family Pics...

Recently a friend of ours took several pictures of our family and these are some of our favorites. Sadie Mac is doing great and has now started to give us big smiles. We are so thankful for each day we have together.

Safe in daddy's arms...

Kisses from mama...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dreaming of...

Dear Eli,
When my mom and dad showed me your blog and your new outfit, I thought you were very handsome. I’m glad our parents became friends before we were born. How neat that our parents would get pregnant at the same time and it is really cool that now, you and I have the same birthday! We are destined to be together! Thanks for your pictures and I am excited to meet you one day. And, until then, I will dream of my prince Eli and wonder when he will come.
Sadie Mac

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Month!!!

It is hard to believe our little angel is one month old! Wow, how time flies. She has grown 2 inches and gained 2 lbs.! Watching her grow is amazing and we see her change so much every day. She has had quite an adventurous life in the one month she has been alive. For a one month old, we think it’s impressive she has:

Seen the Egyptian Pyramids (although she slept through most of it!)

Been registered with the Egyptian Government! (how official!?!?)

Dipped her feet in the Mediterranean Sea!

And became an American Citizen (hands raised in excitement!)

We are soaking in every moment as we know that this season will quickly pass and she’ll be off to college before we know it! (ok... that is a bit dramatic!) We are ready for the time of sleeping through the night to be here, but until then we are just enjoying the journey.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Newness of a little treasure...

Well... it has been an adventurous three weeks with our precious little girl. She is growing for sure... I forgot to post that at birth, she weighed 6 lbs. 2 oz. and was 19 inches long. She is growing and we will soon have an update when she goes for her one month appointment. Time has gone so fast and we are enjoying every second. Grand Mommy and Papa were here visiting from NC for two weeks and we had several adventures with them including many firsts (for them and Sadie Mac). Life has changed quite a bit and we are learning new things every day. We know sometimes she is probably thinking... "What are you guys doing?" (see picture below!) We see God's grace all over her and are amazed He would give us this little treasure to care for and raise. We are having the time of our lives (when we are not having to take naps and recover from long nights!) Such a sweet gift!

The lazy days of Sadie Mac.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sadie McLean Rhyne is here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Waiting Game...

I am now at 38 weeks and we are playing the waiting game. We seem to wake up every day and wonder “Is today the day?” We are excited and anticipating Baby Girl Rhyne’s arrival and have been preparing and practicing our relaxing and breathing techniques. This is a new world for us! We have enjoyed learning some new Arabic words as it is different dialect here. We have also been enjoying the beach and spending time with friends. We are excited that Stephen’s parents will be joining us around the first of August and spending two weeks with us here in Egypt. We are so thankful for their willingness to help us learn about being parents and I’m sure they are excited about seeing their newest grandbaby.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Our Current Home...

Well we have now been in Egypt for a little over a week and are enjoying the American food and time with friends, soaking up every second we can. We absolutely love Alexandria and are learning how much we love the ocean breeze as we go walking each morning. You can’t beat walking up and down the Cornish by the Mediterranean Sea when you are 8 months pregnant and are use to 120 heat. We for sure have traded heat for humidity. For now… we’ll take it! Here are a few pictures from what we’ve seen since we’ve been here. For the 4th of July we went down to Cairo and celebrated with all the other people who had American passports. It was really fun, but a bit strange being in Egypt singing the Star Spangled Banner! But, you gotta love pork hot dogs and grill fired hamburgers served by the US Marines when you are here! They also did door prizes and Stephen won one of the biggest ones! A free safari in Tanzania!! But, there were a couple of “catches” to the prize. Like recruiting 4 friends to pay for the trip and the safari which would be over $2000/person. We wish we had more rich friends! It was exciting though! We are anticipating our little Pumpkin’s arrival and watching my belly grow every day, and watching her run out of room. She is a little mover and shaker already! The doctor says she is doing great and everything looks fine. We are getting more and more excited and seeking the Lord’s guidance in this special and unique time in our lives. It’s a bit overwhelming, but we are thankful that He has chosen us to raise this little girl and teach her about Him and life. Isn’t life such a gift!?!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Who Needs Pottery Barn?

When you live where there is no Pottery Barn and you just want cute stuff for your new bundle of joy, you just have to be creative. So, I went shopping at "The Used Furniture Market" at Soog Shabby (Soog in Arabic is like a big market). You could consider this one or two steps down from a GoodWill. Here you can find all sorts of neat things (or junky things)... you just have to sort through the endless piles of clutter. On a good day, you can be sure to find a keep sake. So, last week, a friend and I went shopping looking for a baby changing table and that is just what we found! So, after Stephen and I washed, bleached, and painted it... we have a beautiful changing table! Later in the week we were shopping for furniture and I found a wonderful glider rocker (at a real furniture store :-)) and Stephen bought me an early Anniversary present. Next week is TWO YEARS and we couldn't be happier. What a blessing to wake up every day beside the one God has made for you!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ain't Life Grand...

We just returned from a wonderful and amazing vacation to Egypt. We saw new places and sights... tasted new (and good 'ol American) food which we had been missing... and enjoyed a lot of rest and relaxation. One of the most exciting things that we did was to learn that we are having a GIRL!! After months of waiting and wondering, we now know pink will be our color. But, she will be a Tar Heel fan, so there will be some Carolina Blue in the mix!

First we enjoyed a little over a week in Sharm el Sheikh with the beauty of the Red Sea and Snorkeling. In Sharm we had lazy days on the beach and by the pool. We went on a boat ride and enjoyed the beauty of Egypt. After that we went to Alexandria to see the hospital where we will deliver and meet the doctor. It was a wonderful experience. After a few days there, we headed to Cairo to do the tourist thing and enjoyed the Pyramids and other exciting places there. We were thankful to see friends and enjoy a break from the heat. We laughed when we got back and we thought Egypt had been hot... No, hot is here!!! 120+ it seems to be. But, we were thankful to return home. All in all we had an amazing time and were truly thankful for the time together.

Enjoying Vacation

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Growing Belly

I am now in my 7th month of pregnancy and people are always surprised to hear it. Little one is growing, but I'm not very big. Most nights this is good as I can still sleep pretty well and my tummy is not in the way too much! :-) I am thankful to be feeling good and we are trying to get out of the heat by going on vacation next week! Hope you enjoy the pictures of the belly.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

April Showers Bring Less Power

And... Hotter Days. The Temperature continues to rise and we are doing our best to stay in the shade! We have experienced a new weather phenomenon which everyone here calls a "Haboob", also known as a dust storm. It is crazy! What seems to be a wall of dust and dirt comes across the sky and through town, which leaves everything looking orange and only dust in every crack in the house. These are pictures of our first Haboob, and they are not the greatest pictures because we were trying to escape before we got loaded down with the grit! Yes, the next day we are left doing nothing but cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. People here find it hard to believe that we don't have these back home! It's a way of life here... one we must learn to adjust to. :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Amazing World of Technology

How the Internet never ceases to amaze me… One is very thankful for it’s advancements when you are living ½ way around the world from your family. Being pregnant away from family can be hard some days. You want to experience all the things you would back home and it’s just not possible. But, we were brought one step closer to our families and to experiencing something as special as a baby shower through skype! Stephen’s aunt and uncle put on a baby shower for us and we were able to see and talk to our family and friends through the computer. They enjoyed BBQ and all the fixin’s (and boy, do we wish we could have gotten our hands on some of that!) We were so thankful and blessed for their support and so excited to see everyone who was there! Thank you so much for all who shared in this time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Rollin'... Rollin' down the River

Last week we had some friends come from the States and treat us to a wonderful "joy ride" down the Nile. It was so relaxing and beautiful. We enjoyed seeing the fisherman out looking for a daily catch, swimmers enjoying the coolness of the water (or bathing... we're not sure!), and the beautiful sunset.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's a... BABY!!

Well, we have been very excited to find out what our little bundle of joy will be, and have been anxiously awaiting the doctor's ultrasound to know for sure. We are thankful for all who took part in our "Baby Rhyne" poll and the results were: 27 of you think BOY, and 20 of you think GIRL.
When we were in Jordan in January, I was only 11 weeks along in the pregnancy. But, the doctor was confident in his percentage (90-something % sure) it was a BOY!! So, for the past 10 weeks we have been thinking and planning for little baby boy Rhyne to arrive in early August. I even bought some clothes that were *Tar-Heel* blue! So, we went this past week to the doctor here and were very surprised when the doctor said he was 90-something % sure it is a GIRL! My new theory is that we are actually having twins, one boy and one girl, and they just like to take turns being in the picture! (Doubtful... but why not?) So, we have started down the "neutral path" of picking baby clothes... not convinced of either boy or girl yet!
I'm thankful to be feeling much better and to be past what seems to have been a very long few months of morning (or all day) sickness and nausea. My tummy is starting to stick out more and more and, in recent weeks felt little one kick! We are so thankful and praise the Lord for the life he is forming inside of me. We will keep you posted on any new results or details we find out in coming weeks!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


For Valentine’s Day we were able to enjoy a nice sandy day in the desert site seeing. Our beautiful country has several pyramids that are located just a few hours from our city. There were about a dozen pyramids and all the tops had been blown off. The story goes that someone believed there was gold and riches in the pyramids so they used dynamite to try to get in. Who knows if this is true… but that’s what we were told. Stephen also had the amazing experience of riding a camel and now wants to go into camel racing! Amanda just sat for a photo opp!