Christmas Letter 2017

It can’t be December again right? Somehow we now have an 8 month old boy who is on the move and a 3.5 year old princess. This year has been full of blessings. January and February were pretty quiet as we prepared to transition to a family of four. In March we celebrated Princess K’s birthday and awaited baby brother’s arrival. We are so very thankful that he arrived in his own timing with no induction necessary and no epidural needed for momma. I know some of you think I’m crazy but the recovery was so much easier! If we want to do it again is still to be determined. 🙂

I was able to be off from work for 8 weeks, and Dustin’s company has amazing benefits and he was able to be home with the kids for 12 weeks before returning to work. All completely paid for him. I seriously need to figure out how I can be a pharmacist/wellness coach or something for Automattic. 🙂 During this time I was able to launch my new blog PharmToTable. If you haven’t followed me over there please go check it out and share it with your friends and family. You can also find me on facebook and instagram.

June and July were also pretty low key, but I didn’t get much sleep because buddy boy liked to eat all night.  We did get to head to Nashville in early July to visit our good friends Bethany and Josh. Bethany and I went to pharmacy school together. Princess K and their daughter had a blast together. Wish we could see them more.

Late July we had a bridal shower for my youngest sister Ashley in preparation for the big day in September. We also spent a weekend in early August at Grandma and Grandpa Hartzler enjoying the pool and catching up with Dustin’s cousin and friends from high school that he has stayed in touch with. It was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed playing together. Hopefully we can make it an annual event.

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September is sort of a blur, we headed to Daytona Beach for a week of vacation the week of Labor day. We took Dustin’s parents with us as they enjoy Florida and enjoy being with us and the kiddos for a week. Unfortunately despite us traveling to Florida the last several years in September, this year hurricane season was in full force and we had to evacuate due to Hurricane Irma. It was a little bit of a stressful end to our trip but we made the trek to Atlanta and took a flight back to Cincinnati. Daytona ended up not  really getting hit much but they didn’t really know which way Irma was going.

After we got home, Dustin turned around and headed to Whistler, Canada for the Automattic Grand Meetup. He really enjoys this week of learning and engaging with his colleagues that he typically only chats with text based. I held down the fort for 8 days and went to work (let’s just say i’m not doing that again… if I can help it!).  Then the last week of September we celebrated my youngest sister’s wedding to Ryan our new brother- in-law. Our kids have two Aunt Ashley’s, and now one is married to a Ryan and one to a Brian. Not confusing at all. 🙂 We love them all. Check out our post and some of the wedding photos here. I’m a little biased but my nephew and my kids were so cute all dressed up.

October also went quickly. Dustin had a WordCamp in Michigan, and we also took a weekend to travel to DC to visit our good friends Rebecca and Glen who were living there while Glen was teaching in the Cedarville DC semester. Dustin hadn’t been to DC and I haven’t been since the 8th grade trip. It was fun to go and stay with them and see real DC living. Princess K and their little boy have literally been buds since they were born.

November was a bit more low key, Dustin attended WordCamp Cincinnati where he was the Keynote speaker!  And I went to Charlotte, NC for a few days to speak. We enjoyed Thanksgiving at the Hartzler’s this year and got to see Brian and Ashley’s brand new beautiful home they built down the street from Dustin’s parents.

December is off to a great start. Princess K had her first dance holiday show and both sets of grandparents were able to attend. And we celebrated my nephew’s (Jaclyn’s little one) 1st birthday a little bit early.  As in the past, I’m writing this letter on my flight to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists Meeting. This year it’s in sunny Orlando. Excited for a possible dip in the pool tomorrow morning for my exercise. It’s supposed to be 80 and and sunny tomorrow. It’s a quick trip this time since baby boy is at home with Daddy.

We are looking forward to our first Christmas as a family of four and are excited to spend time with our family and friends this holiday season. We hope our home can reflect the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate our Savior’s birth.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” ~Luke 2:11-14

Ashley and Ryan’s Wedding

This is just a quick blog post to highlight Ashley and Ryan’s special day. They got married at Evans Orchard on September 29th. They had BEAUTIFUL weather. Thursday night was the rehearsal and dinner. Dustin’s parents were able to tag along and help with the kids since I was in the wedding, Dustin was an usher, and Princess K was the flower girl.

Friday we got all dolled up early and took lots of pictures. The ceremony was beautiful and we all got to enjoy the reception. The yummy food included apple cake and apple cider doughnuts! Princess K loved the dance floor, and was exhausted the next day. She normally goes to bed at 7 pm and that night the party was just getting started at that time.

Ashley looked gorgeous and so did the rest of the crew. It was a beautiful setting. I am so glad I splurged on getting the babies (Prince K and my nephew) matching outfits because I will forever cherish the photos of them together with our family, especially the one with my dad holding them. They are 3 months apart but about the same size. Prince K is a bit of a chunker like his daddy was as a baby. Seriously the thighs on this baby!

Such a great weekend, I’ll leave you with an excerpt of my speech at the reception…

My advice was a “prescription” for a successful marriage.

  1. Pray without ceasing..(pray to start your day, pray throughout your day, and spend time in prayer together each day.)
  2. Grow in God, Study the word, together and separately.
  3.  Know each others needs/expectations, keep open communication. Over communicate at first if needed.
  4. Seek mentors that are in a different generation who have rich wisdom from God to share.
  5. Invest.. invest in one another, invest in people and your community, invest in God’s kingdom, and someday in your children
  6. Ryan keep tabs on Ashley’s shopping budget. 🙂

I’m going to close with the scripture verse that we had read at our wedding just over a decade ago (I know I can’t be that old right?) Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul was writing to the church at Epasehus to encourage them, so I pray that it is encouraging to you and one that you book mark and underline significant portions as you journey with God.

A Prayer for the Ephesians

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us (and now with you as a couple), to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

*Professional Photo Credit Katelyn V Photography, the rest are mostly Dustin Hartzler. 🙂

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.