Nashville Weekend Trip! 

We headed to Nashville, TN for our first family trip as a family for 4! It actually is the longest road trip we’ve taken with big Sis too. Our good friends Bethany and Josh live about 2 hours from Nashville in Jackson, TN. Bethany and I met in Pharmacy School and were sisters in Kappa Phi together. It is sort of crazy but their two girls are exactly 3 years and 10 days apart just like our kids! Theirs have birthdays in December so they are each about 3 months older.
We stayed at Opryland Resort & Convention Center courtesy to Marriott Rewards Points. It’s like a little city on inside that you really don’t have to leave if you didn’t want to! I was super thankful for being a Silver Elite member when I walked in and the lobby was packed to the brim with conference attendees trying to check in. I had the double stroller and two kiddos, and a few bags while dad was parking. It was a bit overwhelming but I quickly found someone who directed me to the Elite Check-in and all was good…we walked into a empty suite area with a lady who got us checked in very quickly! #perks!
Friday afternoon we went to the pool for a bit and then grabbed a quick dinner at the nearby Mission BBQ in the mall next door. It was actually pretty walkable because most of the walk would have been indoors through the hotel but we didn’t figure that out until we got there. Its as similar to City BBQ but definitely seemed to taste better!
We got back, put the kiddos to sleep and actually both of us slept pretty early too. Saturday morning Dustin got up to work at 4 am, and I was up with the kids around 6:15 CST. They were up a little early with the time change. 🙂
Our breakfast was from Five Daughters Bakery, which was recommended to us by a friend I went to high school with that lives in Nashville, they had Paleo Doughnuts! However funny story is Dustin tried to order the Paleo ones and apparently the employee didn’t hear “Paleo” for each and ended up with a Paleo one and 3 gluten filled ones. But we both commented how we felt completely fine after the normal doughnuts because of their clean ingredients.
Our friends met us at the pool for early swim around 9am. The girls had a blast playing in the pool together. They were wore out before lunch. We had to get the hungry girls some food. K doesn’t normally naps these day but because she was up early we knew she would probably take one this day and the swimming wore them out. For that reason we stayed at the hotel for lunch and had some gluten free pizza.
 The hotel had an Alice in Wonderland theme going on this summer, so the girls ran into Alice and the Mad Hatter on the “street” inside the hotel.  The Mad Hatter was making ballon animals. They had a build-a-bear station/store set up. So the girls made matching Princess Bears. Both have gotten lots of love in the past few days!
After naps for all kids, we headed to The Pharmacy restaurant for dinner. It had a lot of good reviews and where else should two pharmacists take their families for dinner?!  It was a really fun experience, despite the crazy heat, their patio was very well shaded so we were able to enjoy our meal without sweating. K ate more food in one sitting than she has ever at at restaurant ha! Swimming really does take it out of you. 🙂 The only thing that could have made it better would have been gluten free bun options. Dustin enjoyed his burger bunless on lettuce and still said it was great.
 We finished the day walking around the hotel a bit before we headed back to our room for bed. It really is like a Las Vegas hotel but better because there is no smoke smell to deal with. Sunday morning I headed to the gym, then we took K to the indoor pool since it was open at 7am and our friends met us there. The girls swam again and Dustin and I got our room packed up and ready to go home.
We headed to brunch for one last meal before we hit the road. There were so many great options to choose from, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to wait in line somewhere and we didn’t make reservations soon enough for a lot of the East Nashville places. So we ended up going with Edley’s. It was another BBQ place that had breakfast burritos, and some other southern yummy things. I had the Chicken and Biscuits (another gluten bomb before heading home!) I’m semi- regretting that the last several days with some increase in stomach pain. Hopefully getting back on my cleaner diet it will resolve. All the food was yummy, K wasn’t so sure about the french toast, I think she just didn’t like the taste of maple syrup. It was more like bread pudding (again gluten bomb ha!) but amazing.
We made it back home in about 6 hours and Princess K slept 1 hour, and Prince K slept 4! He is such a good traveler so far. We are planning to drive to DC in the fall because our good friends Rebecca and Glen are living there for the Cedarville Fall Semester and Glen is teaching there. So that drive will be longer but we’ll have an extra day so that will be good! If we happen to find crazy cheap flights we might go that route, but we’ll see! I’d say the first family road trip was a success! So much fun to hang out with our friends.

Princess K’s Birthday Photos

 

Our photographer also did some photos of Kenley for her 3rd birthday! She is a ham right now! Always pretending.. even when Dustin was driving her to school the other day they had to pretend to play hide and seek in the car! She is a great “pretend” mommy.  When I ask her to do a task that is too difficult, she says “but I’m not a real mommy!” So thankful to be her real mommy!

Our Prince is here!

Sorry for the delay in posting this.. it’s been a whirlwind! Can’t believe he is 5.5 weeks old now. A little bit about his birth story… About 1.5 weeks before he was born, we had little bit of a scare with our “birth plan.” I learned on a Friday afternoon that he was transverse which meant his head was on my right side, and feet on my left. So of course I left the office in tears, barely could make it to Trader Joes with our princess. I did some research and learned about chiropractic care being able to help turn him as well as a website called Spinning Babies. Of course we were praying fervently with all of our prayer warriors, and had chiropractic adjustments on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings. When we went to our high risk OB appointment on Monday afternoon he was head down and ready to go! Hallelujah! God is good!

He wouldn’t make his arrival for another week and a half but thankfully he did come on his own, with me trying all the tricks. I tried things like spicy foods (lots of curry!), walking, and a prenatal massage not avoiding the no-no points! (the massage guy said “oh I’m pretty good at inducing labor”). I went into labor on a Tuesday evening having contractions steadily about 11 pm, so I haven’t sleep a full night since March 20th, ha! We called our close friend who came to stay with Kenley about 5 am, and got to the hospital about 5:30 am.

We had switched OB-GYNs so we could go to a different hospital that had a birthing tub to labor in, oh man, that the best decision ever! With that and some essential oils to keep me calm, was fully dilated by around 11 am. They called my doctor and she barely had her gloves on as he was ready to come out. A couple pushes and he was here. Drastically a different story that previously with princess’ induction. So thankful to be able to do it without meds this time. 🙂 We had lots of skin to skin time and soaking in our newest little blessing. He was 9 lbs 1 oz! Big boy!

Here are our amazing photos from Krystal Covington Photography.

He looks so sleepy here but the longest sleep stretch we’ve had is about 3 hours.

Big Sis was super excited and is doing a great job as a helper AKA Princess K Mommy!

Here we are our new family of 4…

Thanks for reading and soaking in our newest blessing! Hopefully we get some longer sleep stretches soon.

K’s Birthday Take 3!

Today we got the chance to celebrate with most of our family K’s 3rd Birthday! Can’t believe this girl is already 3, and I also can’t believe she’s going to be a big sister in a matter of days or a week!  She is such a blessing to our family, each day she teaches us something new, makes us laugh (multiple times), and is so sweet to everyone she meets!

 Amazingly both of the baby sitters she has had have been artists and each year she’s had a beautiful sign about her past year! This year she wanted a Doc McStuffins party, even her favorite doll Reese had to join in the celebration. She asked if the party was starting at 7am when she woke up and was very upset to find out she had to wait until 1 pm. 🙂

She was very very excited to open presents and did so very carefully! She gets that from her Dad!

So thankful for this Princess! Excited to meet our prince soon. K will be excited about more presents from Baby Brother! 🙂 Please keep us in your prayers this week. Baby Boy is not in the right position (he is side ways), not sure when or how he will arrive, but praying God gives us peace about that and whatever is best for Mom and Baby. 🙂

Christmas 2016

2016 has been a year full of many blessings and quite a few passport stamps (for Dustin at least!). January and February were pretty much status quo, then March was busy with celebrating K’s birthday and Dustin’s birthday in addition to my heaviest teaching load time.

It was also a time of lots of prayer and trying to discern God’s will for our family with my job. He opened a door for me to be able to work part time and continue to teach part time as well. I decided to decrease to a 0.25 FTE (full time equivalent) with Cedarville and in July began working as a clinical pharmacist at Western Medicine Family Physicians 2.5 days per week. I love being a primary care/family medicine clinical pharmacist and it is such a blessing to be able to do that part time (in the same office as one of my best friend’s is the nurse practitioner!). There was much peace in our hearts after making that decision. And we still feel it has been a huge blessing to our family. I certainly miss my colleagues I spent the last 6 years working with at Cassano Health Center, but thankfully we stay in touch, and one of them ended up coming to my new practice as well!

Dustin still works for Automattic, which is the parent company of WordPress.com.  He is still on the WooCommerce team which is an extension they acquired that allows customers to turn their website into an online store. In April his team had a meet up in Austin, TX for a week. He enjoyed lots of BBQ and bonding time with the team.

Before we left for Spain, we are excited to find out we were going to be an Aunt and Uncle! My sister Jaclyn found out she was pregnant. We are excited to meet little SJ soon! She is due on December 16th with her baby boy.

The biggest trip of the year was our time in Spain. When I arrived at Cedarville in 2010 my office was in the Study Abroad and Political Science area since we didn’t have a Health Sciences Building yet. Ever since I have dreamed about developing a study abroad program for graduate pharmacy students. Most pharmacy students aren’t able to do Study Abroad during undergraduate courses unless they go during the summer because they have so many sequenced science courses that are not offered in the summer.

There are so many benefits to cultural immersion and cross cultural experiences that I don’t have time to share in this letter, but thankfully our administration did see those and allowed me to create this program. We took pharmacy students from Cedarville and a student from North Eastern Ohio College of Medicine’s pharmacy school to Valencia, Spain. Ashley, my youngest sister, came to be K’s Nanny for our trip so Dustin and I could both continue to work. Our experience was such a blessing to our family. K loved it and talks about going back almost on a daily basis.

Shortly after we came home from Spain and got her potty trained, she started a pre-k program at a local Spanish Immersion school. We love seeing her learn another language and hope that these language skills she is acquiring now will be a huge asset to her in the future. You can read all about our trip to Spain here. We are hopeful to be able to do this again sometime in the next few years. The students had a blast living with host families and learning the language 24-7 while they also studied pharmacy courses in english. You can read some of their stories here.

At the tail end of our trip, Dustin headed to Vienna, Austria for WordCamp Europe. He served as a volunteer there. It is the largest WordPress Conference in Europe. Ashley headed to London with some of my students, so K and I enjoyed our last weekend in Valencia and headed to the beach a few times. She still sings a song every night about one of our days at the beach in Gandia, Spain. We need to record it!

Back on US soil in July, Dustin headed to Chicago for the day for the Podcast Movement Conference. He really enjoys this conference since he has made a good network of other podcasters across North America. If you are interested in learning WordPress check out his podcast in the iTunes store, it is called Your Website Engineer. A few days later he actually headed to Berlin, for another team meetup. His mission while he was there was to find cheese spätzle. He convinced one of his teammates to find it with him, they enjoyed it at the end of their trip. They got to do a bike tour of the city and saw where the Berlin wall was and many other landmarks.

Also in July I made the job transition, then in September Dustin headed to Whistler, Canada which is on the West Coast near Vancouver for Automattic’s yearly meet-up with the whole company. They have many education sessions as well as time for the employees to get to know each other face to face. Dustin always enjoys this week but usually comes home exhausted! This year I held down the fort with K for both of Dustin’s trips in July and Sept without Grandma so I was exhausted too!

At the end of September Dustin and I took a quick trip to Niagara Falls while K spent the weekend with Grandma. You can read all about it here. As I write this, we are headed to Las Vegas for the Midyear Meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacist’s association. I’m speaking at the end of the week on Diabetes and Dustin is tagging along since he can work from anywhere in the world with Wifi including the Bellagio Buffett. 🙂

So now for the biggest news of the year…K has an announcement:
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We are excited to welcome another little one into our family in March 2017. I’m starting to feel a little left out all of our household will be March babies except for me ha!  A boy will be new territory for me especially growing up with 2 sisters! But I’m assured that boys are lots of fun and we are very excited! His name is also going to start with a K, so I’m going to have to start referring to them as K1 and K2  or girl K and boy K ha in our blog! Maybe even Prince and Princess K!

We hope you and your family also had a year full of blessings, we are very excited to meet our little man next year and transition to a family of 4! We are thankful for a Savior that meets us where we are and provides for our needs. Praying a special holiday season for all of you!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Special thanks to Tara Lewis Photography for capturing our family with these great pictures.

Niagara Falls

After a busy summer, Dustin and I needed a short get-a-way to connect, and catch up on some things we’ve been wanting to work on. We decided to head to Niagara Falls. Thankfully Grandma and Grandpa Hartzler were up for babysitting!

We headed out on a Thursday morning leaving from Orrville. Our first stop was for a late lunch in Buffalo before we headed to the falls area. We ate at a burger place called Allen Burger Venture, which was pretty amazing! The atmosphere was very much like the Oregon District in Dayton or Yellow Springs, Ohio. Neither of those places have a really good burger place like this though. Maybe we should start one 🙂 Dustin’s burger even had peanut butter in the sauce! The tater tots were homemade and came with a sour cream and bacon dipping sauce, and an apple cider dipping sauce (are you drooling yet?).

Then we headed to our hotel. This was sort of funny because we thought we got a hotel on the Canada side, turns out we didn’t! We put the address in the GPS and realized we were on the New York side. It turned out to be fine, hotel was a very new Fairfield Inn and Suites within walking distance to the falls on the US side. Since we had a big lunch sort of late on Thursday, we just went to the outlets and got frozen yogurt and did a little bit of shopping in the evening.

Friday we headed to the falls. First we didn’t realize how close we were, and got in the car, once we got there we realized we forgot our DSLR camera, so we headed back to get that (luckily we were able to get out of the $10 parking area for free because we just arrived!) and then we actually walked back to the falls.

We did the Maid of the Mist because why not?! We got a little bit wet, but not too bad, it was really cool to be up that close! Afterwards we walked back to the hotel, dried off a bit and researched a good place to go for lunch. We had heard about Niagara on the Lake a town a bit north and found a really good restaurant there called Zees. This was just as good as our meal the day before! The parmesan truffle fries were amazing, Dustin says he’ll never eat a fry another way ha! (I doubt it!). He had a BBQ pork wrap and I had a salmon burger on gluten free toast. We walked around the Niagara on the Lake downtown area for a bit before our parking meter was up. The town had lots of fun shops and restaurants. The flowers in the streets were still very pretty despite the fact it got colder this week.

As we headed back to the good ole USA, we drove by the viewing points for the falls on the Canada side, I jumped out to take some pictures, then Dustin did a U-turn and came back for me. The parking price there was $18 CAD! We hung out the rest of the evening at our hotel and had some sausages we purchased at a local Canadian grocery store. Getting across the border and back was pretty easy. The US border patrol did enjoy that Dustin said his citizenship was Ohio, instead of the USA ha!

Saturday was pretty laid back, as I had a headache most of the day. We checked out Sunshine Cafe nearby for breakfast and later had great Indian Food for lunch at Zaika which was within walking distance of our hotel. It was really good but spicy! Wish we could have ordered off the menu but they only had the buffet. It was good but I accidentally ate goat, whoops! The chicken curry was right next to it ha! Later we headed out to explore the town of Lewiston and checked out a juice bistro and cafe for a new atmosphere to work a little while. I finally didn’t have a headache and wanted some protein so we ended up finishing off the trip at Center Cut Village Steakhouse. This was really good! Dustin loved the Seafood Chowder and we both enjoyed a filet and some more truffle fries. 🙂 Sunday we headed back to Ohio and picked K up and made the trek home! Back to reality, excited fall is finally here!

Living in Valencia Week 5

We can’t believe it, the last week was finally here. My students couldn’t believe it either. As they finished up their coursework, turned in assignments, and studied for finals, they are soaked up the last moments of the Spanish lifestyle.

This week was a whirlwind. After classes finished up on Wednesday, the students headed a few different ways, all of them were doing some traveling prior to coming home. Ashley became friends with them and decided to join Ruth and Lauren on a trip to London. She’ll have to do a guest post later on their weekend there.

Dustin headed off to Austria for WordCamp Europe. This opportunity was a huge blessing to us, because his involvement there helped cover his cost to come to Europe. So that left K and I in Valencia for a fun Mommy and K weekend. Before everyone left we took some fun pictures in Valencia to end our time there.

During this whole trip K loved walking the streets herself, she would say “I walk myself” to wherever we were going.  So she loved this one last family stroll around our neighborhood.

Since it was just me and K for the weekend, we enjoyed some yummy food out, it was hard enough to cook there with help but by myself I didn’t really try. The first night we had amazing Greek food at a new cozy restaurant called Kuzina. I also ordered a dish to take home for dinner the next night! Greece is one of the top places on my bucket list.

The next day we also meet one of the students’ host mom’s for lunch at a Thai Restaurant called Green Papaya. This was also very tasty. I love Asian foods, Thai wins because less of it is fried. We stopped on the way home to get a chicken from El Pollo Criollo, a place we tried last year when we had lunch with the same host mom Lucia! I wish I had known this was right on bus line 4 which went directly to Plaza de la Reina where we lived to because it was so so so so good! This was K’s dinner while I ate my greek leftovers and then we had it for lunch the next day and there was some left for Ash to eat Sunday night.

One day we enjoyed the park and the Museu de les Ciències. They had a kids area that had a fun water table, and “real life” construction zone for the kids to build a house with a play crane! GrandDad would have loved it! After the museum we made a quick stop in the Aqua mall to check it out right across the street.

K and I also made two trips to the beach during our weekend, she loves it now, and was covered in sand head to toe.  I was so worried she was going to get sand in her eye and I had to figure out how to deal with that by myself. But thankfully she didn’t complain of it.

On our last evening in Valencia, we met Dustin at the Metro stop as he returned from the airport and walked to Cruz Pampa. This may have been some of the best food we’ve had here. Argentinean steak houses are amazing, might have to add Argentina to the bucket list. Ashley’s flight was delayed and she returned to Valencia shortly after we got home from dinner.

On Monday we said good by to our “new house” as K calls it and took the high speed train to Madrid. We stayed near the Atocha train station that evening, then headed to the airport Tuesday morning. Lots of emotions as we headed back. I am forever grateful for this experience, and especially thankful I was able to bring my family and my sister to experience it as well. A piece of my heart will be in this city. We hope to return someday. Maybe then we’ll know more Spanish! Hasta la próxima Valencia!