June 12, 2017

Weekend and summer camp

Posted in Family news/Updates at 7:34 pm by Mel

This past weekend was a bit busy.

On Saturday, after swim class we headed to Brooklyn to visit a bit.  My dad will be leaving on a month long motorcycle trip across the country and we wanted to see him before he hit the road.  Dave and grandpa took the kids fishing and swimming, and my mom and I kicked it around the house.  After dinner Dave and grandpa headed to the store to try their hand at Mai Tai’s, so my mom and I took the kids to get ice cream and then to the park.  Win-win.

Noomi also found some of Emily’s old stuffed animals and insisted on bringing two home.  One was a dinosaur that I remember Emily carrying around nonstop with her when she was about 6 or so.  How cute is that?

On Sunday, we hung at the house, did a bit of cleaning and then spent a few hours in the pool.  The kids LOVE the “big” pool, lol.  Ajax asked if we were fancy.  I told him, no dude, no one would call us fancy.  I guess I should’ve asked what he meant by fancy.

Today was the first day of summer camp for the kids via the YMCA.  Noomi is at Camp Hugabee and Ajax is with Camp Pawapi.  Both kids had a great day, though Noomi was hesitant to let me go this morning.  Ajax actually knew a few kids that were at camp as well, so that was nice.  One parent that was dropping off also commented that his older daughter’s name was Noomi!  Turns out they were from Sweden and he explained that the name is quite popular there.  He was also impressed that we spelled it correctly.   Ajax had a great time and told us about canoeing, archery, and climbing a rock wall.  What a first day!

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June 9, 2017

Last day of school! 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:25 pm by Mel

Today was Ajax’s last day of the second grade!  He had a half day and rode the bus to and from school.  Noomi stayed home with me as her last day of preschool was actually last week.  I’m just now realizing I didn’t take a picture of her for her last day of preschool, HA!  oh well, second kid problems.  After we put Ajax on the bus Noomi and I went grocery shopping and even picked out some new summer clothes for her.  We had a very good outing.

When Ajax got home we had lunch, they played some MineCraft and then we went out and played in the pool.  A few neighbor kids and their parents came over and we had an impromptu pool party.  Overall, a lovely day.  Ajax said he was both excited and sad that it was his last day.  He said he’ll miss his teacher, Mrs. Gienapp, and his class, but is so ready for summer.

Next year he’ll be going into a new school – Explorer – and Noomi will be starting Young 5s. Both our kiddos will be in school full time and will be riding the bus in the morning together!  I can’t believe how big they are both getting!

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June 6, 2017

Tough Mudder and miles 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 7:24 pm by Mel

Exciting times at our home this past week.

Dave and I completed Tough Mudder Michigan which was held in Oxford this year at a gravel pit.  It was an incredible venue.  We had so much fun doing it together.  Unfortunately the rest of Mitten Mayhem wasn’t able to run with us, but we fully represented.   We ended up staying the night at my cousin Sandy’s home in Clarkston and then got up early to volunteer on Sunday as well.

While we were at TM my folks had the kids.  On Friday, Emily picked up both kiddos and kept them overnight.  Apparently they ate a ton of pizza, watched Boss Baby, and Adrian showed Ajax a new card game on the iPAD.   On Saturday, Emily and Adrian took the kids to Brooklyn for farm clean up and everyone worked taking down trees.  On Sunday, my parents kept the kids and then met us at our house after volunteering all day.

Ajax didn’t do mini-mudder this year since we opted to sign him up for soccer and we have limited funds.  He’s been asking and asking to play soccer and we finally consented.  Apparently they have “try outs” (not real try outs) on June 19th and then the sport starts in the Fall/Spring.  Noomi had no desire to do soccer or T ball or any other sport.  She stated she was happy with her swimming class.

This year Ajax topped 25 miles for Mileage Club and was in the top 10 again this year!  That meant a pizza lunch with Principal Cobb today with the rest of the top 10 kids.  We are beyond proud of him.  He set a goal and went for it!


May 29, 2017

Memorial weekend 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:44 pm by Mel

Long time, no posts.   The name of the game here has been busy, lol.

The kids are both amped up as the end of the school year is drawing near.  They can hardly contain themselves.  Dave has been busy at work and was in Georgia for a few days on business.  My work is steady and I’m gearing up for my annual conference which this year will be in New Orleans.

This past Memorial weekend, I got off work a bit early and Dave and I were able to pick the kids up from school.  On Saturday, the kids had swim class and then Ajax had a friend over all afternoon.  That was nice since I got a bunch of meals in the freezer and that kept 50% of my kids occupied.  On Sunday, we ended up spending most of the day over my cousin Wendy’s house as her family has decided to move back to England.  The kids had a great time playing and will be sad to see them go.   By the time we got home the sky was dark and thundering, so we had a picnic dinner in the living room and watched The Fellowship of the Rings.  The kids absolutely loved it.  I was on the fence, but Dave insisted they were old enough.

On Monday, we planted flowers and got the garden in.  We also put up the “big” pool and the kids freaked out they were so excited.  They actually spent a good part of the day in the pool and at one point we even had another neighbor kid in there as well.  Now the water was freezing, but that didn’t seem to stop the kids.  After our work was done we headed into town for some much deserved ice cream.  We capped off our night with the hamburgers and corn on the cob and the second Lord of the Rings film.  The kids are hooked.

Overall, a lovely holiday weekend.

Below –  Mother’s Day weekend – Ajax holding a Pinterest win.  And a birthday party I took Noomi to last weekend.  Noomi in her matching lularoe dress which Grandma Dara and Theresa gifted all the ladies.

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May 8, 2017

Weekend roundup

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:41 pm by Mel

Last week was a whirlwind.

I completed a case that I’ve been working on for 7 years and Dave’s been working crazy hours on a new product launch.  Then to add to the fun, I decided to take on the Ice Cream Social, the PTSA’s largest event of the (and really one of the largest events for our small town, lol).  This year I was in training and that meant 2 days of prep work and running around the school with the current coordinator.  The kids thought it was cool because I got to drive them to school and have lunch with them and get them right after school.

The event went lovely and the kids had a great time.  My parents came up to help and then took Noomi home for the night as Ajax had his doctor’s appointment in Ann Arbor the next morning.  Dave and I both took him and the doctor did an exam and seemed to rule out Crohns.  She reordered blood work and prescribed a cleanse.  That of course meant that we all spent the weekend at home.   Really that suited us just fine as the whole family was beyond beat.  Both kids had fun watching movies and playing video games with Dave as it was just cold and windy outside.  We let Ajax stay up late one night and watch a movie with Dave and I and eat popcorn.    The cleanse didn’t really seem to help his stomach and next the doctor stated that we would try reflex medicine.  She also said possible gluten intolerance or stress.  Guess we’ll wait on the results.

With all of Ajax’s stomach issues Noomi has been walking around stating that her throat hurts “really bad.”  But she’s 4 so it’s hard to know.  OH, I also freaked out and decided that she wasn’t ready for kindergarten and opted to do young 5’s instead.  The school secretary didn’t think I was totally nuts, but I may have over-explained my thought process.


April 23, 2017

Weekend roundup

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:52 pm by Mel

Quiet weekend here!    On Saturday morning I took the kids to their swim class.  Grandpa Gordy came as well and afterwards, he took Ajax home with him.   There was a lot of farm cleanup to do and Grandpa needed an extra hand.  After they were deployed, Noomi and I went grocery shopping and did some general running around.  We had dinner with friends, which meant a late night for baby girl.

On Sunday, Grandpa Gordy brought Ajax home and reported that they did a ton of work on the farm.  Ajax reported that he got to stay up late and watch inappropriate shows, which were awesome (ie. Mash and some movie with a dragon).   Dave and the kids cleaned the house and did laundry while I went into the office for a few hours.  When I got home, we took the kids to the park and then finished the family craft project I started.

Medical update:

So, for the past 2-3 months Ajax has been complaining about stomach pains.  We took him to the doctor’s three times with no answers.  The doctor ordered blood work, which we completed on April 14 (Friday).  The nurse did a wonderful job drawing blood and afterwards I took him to school.  Aside – since it was Friday it was his Mileage Day, so Noomi and I went up and ran a few laps with him!  He did four laps and was very excited.

Ok, so back to the medical – on Monday I got a call from the doctor and they asked us to come back in to talk about the test results.  When we went in, the doctor explained that Ajax has elevated inflammation markers and low iron levels, which was concerning and possibly the start of something more.  The doctor said she was happy to see that he has consistently gained weight and that we needed more information to find out what’s going on.   We were referred to a ped’s GI at Mott Children’s Hospital and have an appointment on May 5th.  Hopefully we’ll have some more info at that appointment!

No photos because the Dropbox is being funny.

April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 7:26 pm by Mel

Easter came a little late this year, which meant that the weather was warm at least.

I had Good Friday off and I had assumed the kids did as well (I’ve worked for a Catholic agency way to long), but I was informed by Ajax that he did in fact have school and his teacher couldn’t understand why I sent his homework folder in on Thursday.  I felt silly.  Noomi wanted to stay home with me, so at least I had some company.

We had a late start on Friday anyways because I had to take Ajax into Okemos to have his blood drawn.  He’s been complaining that his stomach hurt and after two doctor’s appointments, they wanted to run some tests as they weren’t sure of the cause.  He did very well with the blood draw and then I dropped him off at school.  Noomi and I ended up spending a few hours at the school anyways for Mileage Club.

On Saturday, Emily came over and we all took the kids to the local egg hunt.  The kids had a ton of fun running around and collecting eggs.  Noomi did a little better this year but still wasn’t highly competitive (actually neither was Ajax lol).   We got home, ate lunch and colored some eggs.

The kids also loaded up on sugar and I did some baking for the week.  Dave offered to take them for a bike ride and they were both very excited to get out for a ride.  All three set off, but then only two returned – Ajax in a huff and Noomi crying.  Apparently on their way back Noomi got off her bike and refused to get back on.  She also refused to walk home which left Dave standing in the road yelling at Ajax to stay in sight and trying to hold his bike and Noomi’s bike.  When she refused to walk Dave swung a screaming/crying Noomi over his shoulder picked up her bike and walked home.  He then had to return for his own bike.  A random neighbor offered him help.  Later that night he said, well at least I didn’t swear (the first thing Ajax told me when he busted into the house was that- Dad was so mad and yelling and swearing!).   The neighbors probably think we’re insane.

On Sunday, Ajax was up at 6:30 am and Noomi was up shortly after that.  They searched the house, but kept lapping back into our room complaining that they couldn’t find their baskets and that they needed help.  After making them work at it for about an hour we got up made coffee and “helped” them look.    Besides baskets the kids also got a Casio keyboard which I picked up at a garage sale, thinking they would get a kick out of it, as well as new kites.  Ajax got more trading cards and a Star Wars Tshirt, while Noomi got a mermaid doll and a mermaid tank top.  Both kids got candy and new googles for swim class.

After a pancake breakfast, we loaded up and went into Dearborn to my Grandpa Nader’s house (now my Uncle John and Uncle David’s house).  I was a little worried about how it would feel going over there without my Grandpa, but to be honest there were so many family members there, and love, that it didn’t feel strange, it felt warm and comforting.  The front door was open (which hadn’t been in a long time) and the kids ran laps around the house (in the front door, though the living room and kitchen, down the steps and out the side door).  That’s how I remember it when I was little, running wild with my cousins.  The kids ate way too much sugar but definitely ran it off.  My Uncle David made the kids popcorn, which may have been the highlight of their day.

We headed home and actually did a bit of yard work before calling it a night.  Kids are now in the bath getting ready for bed, as Noomi kept nodding off on the couch after dinner.  It’s still sunny and 60 out, crazy April.

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April 11, 2017

Spring break 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 9:55 pm by Mel

Over Spring break Ajax and Noomi headed up north to Mikado to spend the week with Grandma Dara and Papa, who were so kind to watch them.   Sadly the weather was pretty cold and rainy, which meant they spent most of their time inside chasing dogs and watching movies.  A lovely time up north was had by all, though Ajax did push buttons and a few phone calls home were necessary.  Both kiddos went with Dara to Alpena and ran around the library.  They also hung out at the clinic and Noomi had a strep test (negative).  Dave worked all week and so did I when I wasn’t home sick on the couch.


Also, now that Ajax is 8 he doesn’t need a booster seat.  We also transitioned Noomi to the booster seat as she had completely outgrown the convertible car seat.  The kids are getting so big!

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April 5, 2017

Grandpa Nader_ 2017

Posted in Family news/Updates at 4:30 pm by Mel

My grandpa Nader just passed away and I thought I would share his eulogy that my mom wrote–

Today is the day that we say farewell to an era; to a huge network that has weaved a life of its own.  That network began with a spark that was the love between our Mom and Dad.

Joseph Nader was born on January 23, 1923, in Detroit, MI; to parents that had immigrated from Lebanon.   One of eight children, he is survived only by his younger brother, Tony, and preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Mae, and daughter, Susie.

He grew up on Joe Campo in Detroit, joined the army during World War II, and was sent to Germany.   In 1944, he suffered frostbite on his toes which landed him in the hospital in Colorado where he met Shirley.

Shirley Oswald was a nurse and being the handsome soldier that he was, Shirley declared that she was going to marry that man.  So, instead of heating her massage oil, as the other nurses did, she placed hers in the refrigerator.  They obviously fell madly in love.   

They were not supposed to date, she was an officer and he was enlisted, but if you knew Shirley she had a way of bending and all out breaking the rules.  They married in May 1945 in Minnesota and settled in Detroit.  Dad went to school to become a court stenographer and worked for years in the Courts in Mt. Clemens.  The first group of children were raised in Herman Gardens and then the family moved to Dearborn Heights, where they lived for over 60 years.  

In total, Joe and Shirley had 15 children in 20 years. This resulted in – 53 grandchildren,  81 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.   What an incredible legacy.  It would also be fair to say that each person in this family could state, with absolutely certainty and confidence, that they felt as if they were truly dad’s favorite.  He had a way of making each and every person feel special and unique among the Nader Clan.    It was a true gift.

Fifteen kids seems like a lot, but it didn’t seem odd growing up. It was the norm, our norm, it was our family and now it seems like a gift that our parents gave us.  Like so many of the gifts Dad has given us all, the gift of love, laughter, and always a shoulder to cry on.   Family was everything to Dad and there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t give to help his family.

Not only were we blessed with a huge family, but we also had an extensive network of close family friends which developed over the years.  This network was made up of a group of liberal individuals who eventually moved away from the traditional Catholic Church.   This group eventually formed their own roving parish that focused on family, food, and religion.  Through this Mom and Dad acquired their closest friends, friends that are still close to this very day and many of whom are our God Parents.  

When my grandfather passed, my father became “Baya” or our beloved Father.   Baya  had such a way of making you feel as though you were the only one, the favorite, the smartest and most interesting.   Whatever you were involved in, he would say – that is amazing, that is neat! Baya had a few Joe-isms, for example he always said – you iggit –  and would laugh.  He was famous for getting songs stuck in your heads (like that silly Faygo song), he loved the casino, traveling, and horse shoes.  He loved the law and a good debate.   One of his favorite phrases was – Man-yana.  Tomorrow.  

Toward the end, Dad kept commenting that he felt so blessed and truly humbled by the outpour of love from his family.  He kept saying that he was just an ordinary man, but I think we all know that’s not true.   He was an extraordinary person and lived an extraordinary life.   We are better for having known him.   Dad’s last words to me were- do not mourn my passing, but rejoice because I am free and I am with the love of my life and my heavenly family.   


I should point out that this was Noomi’s first open casket funeral and she was highly interested and inquisitive.  She kept approaching the coffin, asking questions and watching people pray.  She wanted to know when grandpa was going to get up and what those people were doing?  She did not appear afraid, just curious.  During the service there were singers and they actually sang the Strawberry song (really a John Denver song… don’t recall the real name).  When they began the song, Noomi sat up and looked at me and proclaimed that she knew that song too!  My grandma sang it to my mom, my mom sang it to me, and I sing it to my kids!

I realize now that Noomi couldn’t place my grandpa, because she kept worrying that the man that makes her the popcorn is gone and who will make her the popcorn!  I pointed out that it was my uncle David that made her the popcorn at grandpa’s house.   We actually went over that a dozen times… still not sure she believes me.  Ajax on the other-hand was serious and thoughtful during the funeral service.   He definitely understood what was happening and didn’t seem to have any questions, though Dave and I kept asking.

It helped that there were lots of other little kids present and then afterwards, there was a lunch at my uncle Joey J’s VFW Hall where they all ran wild.



April 3, 2017

Ajax’s Birthday!

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:03 pm by Mel

This year was Ajax’s big birthday party!   He’s officially 8 years old and growing like a weed!   We learned and held his party at the movie theater in town.  Ajax invited his class and we had about 10 kids total, which was good considering it was the beginning of spring break!   We watched The Lego Movie, ate popcorn, had pop, and this year Ajax asked for donations to the local food bank in lieu of gifts.   After the movie, we had everyone over for the family celebration.  It was wonderful and Ajax was thrilled.  We are so proud of him!  Birthdays also mean sprinkle pancakes!  (I also realize that I mostly took video for the birthday, so not so many photos!)

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