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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March 12, 2017

Weekend wrapup

Posted in Family news/Updates at 5:40 pm by Mel

Last weekend we also headed into Frankenmuth for Grandma Dara’s 60th birthday!  It was nice getting everyone together and the kids picked out a plant for her birthday.

This past week we picked up school enrollment forms for Noomi!  We have a conference planned with her teacher next week so that we can discuss whether she should go into Young 5’s or Kindergarten.  I could see it going either way.  Academically, I think she would be fine in Kindergarten, but she has a late birthday and she’d be a lot younger than the other kids and emotionally she’s quite young.  Young 5’s still ride the bus to/from school, have gym and art.   They follow the kindergarten curriculum, it’s just a bit slower pace with more focus on social interactions, etc.

Ajax attended the PTSA meeting with me and behaved very well.  He was quite excited since that meant he didn’t get home and in bed till almost 9 pm.

On Saturday, the kids had swim lessons.  They both did great!  Ajax put his face in the water and was practicing using his arms.  Noomi claimed she knew how to swim and didn’t need the teacher to help her.  Noomi was also annoyed that her regular teacher was absent – he’s a young college student, lol.

I had to go into the office for a few hours after swimming and ordered all our groceries online so that Dave just had to swing by and pick them up.  On Saturday night we did pizza and a movie – Spiderman – and the kids loved it.

Today was quiet.  We cleaned and put laundry away.  Ajax finished his book report on James Cook.  He did a great job of it and typed it up himself.  He was excited to pick out the font.

Oh we also had a dentist appointment and it was hands-down Noomi’s best visit yet.  After watching Ajax (who is a pro) she jumped right into the chair and followed all the dentist’s instructions!

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February 26, 2017

Still here and kickin’

Posted in Family news/Updates at 8:37 pm by Mel

Goodness, I honestly hadn’t realized that I’d failed to update my blog for over a month. My last post was on Jan. 23rd.  Directly following that, however, President Dumb Dumb issued several Executive Orders relating to immigration and my work world came crashing down.  I’m just now getting my head above water and thought I’d update the blog as we’ve still been quite busy here at home.  In all fairness, I’ve been working late most days, hopefully that starts to even out though.

Let’s see… Ajax and I attended a mother-son dance at his school which was Jedi-themed.  Ajax was excited because we were out till almost 9 pm and he ate a ton of cookies and juice and ran wild with his friends.  He refused to dance with me though, lol.  Noomi had several playdates with friends from school and was so excited when I let her go to a friends house by herself without me (just down the street, lol).

Both kids also went out to Brooklyn for a weekend and even thought it’s winter the weather was sunny and 60 and the kids played in the hay and sand pit.  They had a great time.   When Ajax got home he felt a bit under the weather, so I took him to the doctor’s office.  He was fine, just some allergies.

Yesterday, while I was at a training in Dearborn, Dave took both kids to their first swim lesson at Goldfish in Okemos.  Dave was quite impressed with the place.  There’s a 4:1 teacher/student ratio and I have no doubt they’ll actually learn to swim this time around, lol.

Oh, we also had Valentine’s day in there as well.  I got up early and made pancakes for Ajax’s class and then hung out for his party.  Noomi’s class did a party, but parents were not invited.  Dave bought Noomi flowers and she was beyond excited.

Well, that about sums up our month.


January 23, 2017

Nails and Cars

Posted in Family news/Updates at 10:47 pm by Mel

Only a week left in January and of course it was hovering in the low 50s this past weekend.  No snow, only rain and lots of fog.  Michigan.  Global Warming.

On Saturday, Ajax and I headed into Detroit for the International Auto Show at Cobo.  We swung by Livonia and picked up my dad and cousin, Mike, before heading downtown.   When I was little my dad and I would go to the Auto Show every year, it was our thing and we loved it.  I was so excited to share it with Ajax and he enjoyed it as well.  Ajax said that his favorite were the big Ram trucks and Jeeps (of course).  He climbed into every vehicle he could and jumped up and down in the beds of the trucks.  Afterwards, we headed to our favorite restaurant in Mexican Town before heading home.  It was a great day.

While we were in Detroit, Dave and Noomi had a “princess day.”  Noomi picked out one of her fancy dresses and Dave took her for her first mani/pedi at a place in town.  Noomi was adorable and beyond thrilled.  She was also shy and refused to sit in the pink princess chair, instead she would only sit on Dave’s lap.   Several women asked Dave why he was doing princess day (the obvious being, why isn’t mom doing princess day) and he responded proudly that dad’s could do princess day as well, plus mom was at the Detroit Auto Show with the boy kid.

Afterwards, they got an oil change and checked out a new game store downtown.  Now, I realize the oil change place may not seem so cool for a 4 year old, but this place is different.  The guys that run the place love to give the kids suckers and always talk to the kids about their day.  Both kids love going to the oil change place, lol.

On Sunday, it was a quiet- grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry type of day.   Typical Sunday.  The neighbor kid came over to play, but that was about it.

Oh and the idiot man child Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th President of the United States on Friday… Mad Max Days be a Comin’.



January 15, 2017

Catch Up

Posted in Family news/Updates at 9:16 pm by Mel

Well after the holidays we rushed head-long back into our busy schedules!  The kids started school with minimal complaints.  Dave and I went to work with minimal complaints.

Then to throw a monkey wrench into our plans, Dave was scheduled to be in Canada for a day, a client meeting,- the same day I was set to be in Chicago for a hearing.   My dad was kind enough to come down and watch the kids for us.   He came down on Sunday night and on Monday morning Dave and I headed off.  Grandpa did an excellent job with the kiddos and it seems they weren’t too tough on him- they all survived!   I typed up a detailed routine with a meal plan (meals pre-made and in the fridge), however, when I checked in Noomi wasn’t napping (just resting her eyes on the couch while watching a movie) and Ajax stayed up late on a school night (8:30 pm!!).  There was also a snow day thrown in the there, but grandpa handled it like a pro and everyone was alive and well when I got home on Wednesday.

This past weekend, therefore we did a mountain of laundry and cleaning.  Noomi had a birthday party on Saturday (a fairy princess themed tea party – adorable) and on Sunday we took the kids ice skating in East Lansing.  Dave and I haven’t skated in over 11 years, but we didn’t fall!  The kids did well – Noomi was fearless, bordering on crazy reckless with a wild laugh.  By the end Noomi could shuffle along next to you without holding the wall.  Ajax couldn’t quite seem to get his feet/legs under control and he spent a lot of time slipping and sliding and ending up on the ground.  He was however, always positive and had a good time.  By the end he could shuffle along while holding the side of the wall.  Beth, Mike, and Dom also met us up there, which was nice. The kids loved seeing little Dominic skate around!

On the drive home Ajax was saying that he was happy we went skating today because he has a party tomorrow and they are going skating (didn’t want him to be the only kid there who’d never been skating before).  Noomi heard that and demanded that she also needed to go to the party.  When we tried to explain that it was only a party for Ajax’s friend she proceed to scream and cry hysterically all the way home.  Seriously didn’t see that coming, apparently little girl loves to ice skate.





January 2, 2017

New Year and Good times

Posted in Family news/Updates at 9:19 pm by Mel

After Christmas was Boxing Day and we therefore headed to my cousin Wendy’s house for food and good times.  She had to explain to us what Boxing Day was of course, but we all had a good time (we also took 2 trips to the Good Will with donations).  My parents came out, as well as Emily and Adrian.  Ajax and Sebastian spent hours playing Minecraft and Noomi and Eliza put on roller skates and wheeled (dangerously) around the house.

That was on Monday, on Thursday I had to go into the office for a bit (as I have to be in Chicago in a week for an asylum interview) and Emily was nice enough to drive the kids to Brooklyn for the day.  On Friday, we bummed around and after Dave got off from work we headed to Wendy’s house (again!) for a cousin party.  Ajax and Sebastian again played hours of Minecraft, we barely saw them, and Noomi, Eliza and Clara ran wild through the house.  We ended up staying out later than expected so we didn’t get home till almost midnight. Oh, Noomi also insisted on wearing her monkey costume for the party.

Saturday was New Year’s Eve and we headed to Mike and Beth’s house.  The kids again ran wild with little Dominic, till they crashed around 8 pm and we put on a movie.  We didn’t make it till midnight and the kids were in home and in bed by 9:30/10ish.   They had a great time, however, and so did we, so holiday well spent!  We didn’t do any resolutions… maybe we’ll talk about them over dinner tomorrow night.  It’s always good to have goals and I want to make sure the kids aim for something.

Over the weekend, we really just bummed around.  The kids played video games and we watched movies.  We did our usual routine of grocery shopping, meal planning, cleaning and laundry.  We are now ready to tackle our short week.  Ajax said he wasn’t ready to go back to school and that if he just had one more week off that would be perfect.  Noomi said she was definitely ready to go back to school because she really misses her friends.


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