Christmas Letter 2021

Somehow it’s Christmas time again! Ever since life is back to a “new normal,” (which I really hate that phrase but here I am using it), time has seemed to fly faster than ever.

January was spent at home enjoying some downtime and somewhat of a slower pace. Princess K (sis) had her cast for a few weeks from the break over Christmas 2020 and after several ortho follow-ups she’s done and has no issues with the fracture at her growth plate! Praise Jesus!

Photo Credit above: Nikki James Photography

In February we hit the road again to visit Dustin’s parents in Vero Beach, FL. They have been going there for the winter the last several years. I keep telling myself we’ll own a place somewhere in FL at some point as a rental/place they can go but we’ll see how fast we can make that dream come true. As I write this I’m flying from West Palm Beach to Las Vegas for a conference. My day in West Palm Beach in December with temps of 85 made me acutely aware of the desire to have more sunshine in my life in the winter. 🙂 We enjoyed the Florida February sunshine, got to see some friends there as well. It was a little cooler this year than in past years, but overall a great trip! 

March is always birthday extravaganza month and busy with teaching on my end, but this was my last year part-time with Cedarville. I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy March more next year with the kids. I am still adjunct and will do a couple sessions next March teaching functional medicine approach to diabetes and about insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, which I love to talk about all three! For birthdays, we had a warm front and had a great outdoor pizza party with our neighbors to celebrate the kids late March near Prince K’s (lil bro) birthday! He turned 4 which is hard to believe. Every day this year, he is losing any amount of toddler he has left and growing up way too fast. 

April was uneventful but in May we surprised the kids with a trip to Mexico! It was the first international trip as a family of 4, our princess had gone to Spain with us in 2016 but both of the kids first time in Mexico. Since they go to an amazing Spanish immersion program at home, they loved using their Spanish with the staff. Sis is doing so well and even has a Spanish accent when she speaks since she has learned from native Spanish speakers from Mexico and Puerto Rico. I love listening to her talk and roll her R’s! I think the Mexican people we’ve encountered on travels are a little bit shocked when they hear her talk! The people of Mexico are wonderful and we had a blast enjoying the resort and the sun. We stayed at the Planet Hollywood Cancun. There was so much to do at the resort we didn’t venture out. With lil bro still being in a car seat it makes leaving the resort a little bit more challenging, but when they are bigger hopefully safety in the country will improve too. We could see Isla Muejeres from the resort across the water and would love to take them there someday. 

June was swim team and VBS month! The kids enjoyed swim team and both improved so much. Lil bro was a little bit of a stinker, he can swim very well for his age, but when he was put on the block he acted like he didn’t know how to swim, haha! One day I threw him in to the teacher, hopefully better luck next year. I kept reminding myself he’s only 4.. sometimes I forget because he can swim so well thanks to ISR and lots of practice. 

This summer was also basement finishing time (well from April thru October)! Dustin spent most of the summer working hard on the basement. In June/July we had a crew doing drywall after Dustin finished electrical and plumbing (with help from his Dad).

We had an incentive to finish by August 15, as a couple that is building a house in our neighborhood needed a place to stay while their build completed and he spent most waking hours in the basement (and many hours he should have been sleeping too!).

The drywalling was quite the messy process and he was proud of getting all the materials delivered and queued up to be ready to be installed without delay, except for the flooring. After it sat in the garage for three weeks, he opened the carton when it was time to do the flooring and it was the wrong material, ugh. So there were some delays getting that shipped back and getting the right material in.

Our new friend came in early so he could start taking classes at Wright State and lived in our spare bedroom and moved down on October 1st when his wife came to join us.

We still have some trim work, painting fixes, and a fireplace to add. I (Melody) painted a lot and let’s just say we need a professional. They deserve what they charge — man my body was so sore after days of staying up late priming and painting! But the real hero of the basement is Dustin he spend so many hours and did an amazing tile job on the shower and bathroom. More projects to come to fully complete when our guests move out. 

Along with the craziness of trying to project manage a basement, plus do the majority of the work, Dustin also got a new job at Automattic. He’s been in customer support for the last 7.5 years and his dream is to be a developer, writing code and fixing bugs every day. Last year Automattic started a year long developer apprenticeship program and he was able to study enough in the beginning of the year to get in.

It’s been a huge shift in his already flexible work. He no longer has to work on weekends (was 8 hours every 4 weeks) and no longer has to have scheduled hours throughout the day. He’s now working in the WordPress VIP division, which is the part of the company that hosts some big name sites you might have heard of like NBC Olympics, Facebook 360, UPS, CBS Local, Men’s Journal and many more!

In August, Dustin and I traveled to Hilton Head for a weekend. I was supposed to speak at a conference near Charleston, SC but it got postponed. We had already set up childcare and had direct flights on the new Breeze Airways from Akron Canton.. so we cashed in some Marriott points and headed there for the weekend. Dustin’s sister Ashley and her husband were finishing up their annual summer trip there that week so we got to enjoy some time on the beach with them and dinner with them before they headed out. We actually have never had a meal together just the 4 of us, so that was fun! 

The next weekend sis and I hit the skies to visit her BFF that is now in Texas. The military has brought so many amazing families into our lives living here in Dayton near the Air Force base. M and K were friends at Spanish Immersion School and her mom and I became close friends as well. We miss them dearly so it was fun to have a girls trip and show K around San Antonio. I also got to see another one of our friends that is also stationed there right now that were previously in our house church and meet one of my PharmToTable Pharmacist in person. It was a great way to spend labor day weekend.(and hot!) 

A few weeks later, I headed to Chicago to help run a functional medicine conference for pharmacists. And we added a day retreat with my PharmToTable team that were in attendance. This was an amazing time to meet these ladies face to face, set goals, hear visions, and plan for the upcoming year. The highlight of our trip was dinner at Locovore Farm. We had a farm to table dinner together about 40 miles south of Chicago. The weather was perfect, the sunset was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better time. I’m so grateful these women are on this journey with me of bringing functional medicine care to more people across the US and making it convenient via telehealth. We want our patients to thrive in everything they do! If you know anyone struggling getting answers to their chronic symptoms. Please send them our way!  

PhotoCredit Above: Marcin Myslinski Photography

In October we had planned for a quick trip to the Destin area since we skipped out in the summer. I know it seems like we vacation a lot but we work hard a lot too. 🙂 Creating the memories with the kids and being in places that take us away from busy schedules and putting our feet in the sand helps keep us healthy too. Someone once told me you only have 18 summers with your kids and while 18 years seems like a long time for some reason 18 summers seems like it’s such a small number.

So I make lot of effort to enjoy these moments with tiny toes and feet in the sand and pools. 🙂 As we were trying to decide where to stay in the panhandle I got a email from my trusty friend Scott at Scott’s Cheap flights saying there was a DTW to CUN deal that day. So I logged in and found we could all go to Cancun on points on a direct flight. And thought I wonder if we should switch our plans up to there again..and then that same day I got a Marriott email saying you can now use points to book all inclusive and guess what resort is now part of the Marriott Autograph collection? …

…If you guessed Planet Hollywood you were right. So we quickly booked our plane tickets on points, a night at the Detroit airport, and our hotel on points, just had to pay $600 total for the kiddos, me and Dustin were completely free for 5 nights! So we did Cancun again! The kids were ecstatic to go back and we again had a blast and they talk about going back all the time. I’m praying for Mexico and that they can help continue to keep safety in check. It’s such a beautiful place with a beautiful culture we want to continue to visit. 

This fall I ended up doing a little more photography which was so fun! I’m not doing it very often but fall photos & Christmas photos have my heart and I wanted to share my new skills with others. I love meeting families and helping them capture memories. You can join my Facebook group to see my work and find out about future sessions if interested.

November we enjoyed Thanksgiving celebrations with our families, with the Hartzlers in Orrville and then spent Thanksgiving weekend with my family in Tenneesse. It was a little colder than we had hoped, but we enjoyed the indoor pools and outdoor hot tubs and a walk in the national park along with good family time! 

That brings us to December, we celebrated my birthday with family and friends and I’m back to writing my Christmas Letter on a plane to Vegas like past years. I’m doing the A4M fellowship in anti-aging and functional medicine. I’m excited to use all of this information to continue to help my patients, my team, and further the education we provide to pharmacists across the country at

We are enjoying Advent and putting our focus on Jesus this season and looking forward to celebrating with our family in the coming weeks.

Other updates on the kids.. Sis is still dancing and is such a graceful ballerina, she enjoys tap and jazz too. Lil bro is loving playing sports in our backyard and as he turns 5 in the spring he may start a sport! Both kids did soccer shots last spring and enjoyed learning the sport. He also loves to play tennis at the park. Sis is also taking piano lessons and it’s been fun to help her with that and  spend time practicing with her. Many of the songs have a “teacher” duet part so playing Christmas music together fills my soul with Joy! We hope the sights and sounds of the holiday season bring you Joy as you celebrate our Savior’s birth! 

Sending our blessings for a joyous New Year as well! 

The Hartzlers 

Christmas Photo Credit: Tara Lewis Photography