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!

Birthday Pictures!

Because these pictures are just amazing.. they deserve a post all their own! Thank you Nikki James Photography!

 

Just few excerpts from my letter to Kenley I wrote for her birthday. I plan to write one every year so when she is 18 she will have them all. I’ll have to apologize I didn’t write one for year 1, but I wrote a lot of stuff down!

…”You love to play house and with your dolls. You put them to bed, rub their backs, rock them, feed them, and take them on walks with your stroller. Sometimes we have quite the crew eating dinner with us. Tonight it was a giant Monkey and a cuddly bear at the table. For your birthday we got you a kitchen set with lots of play food, your favorite part are the ice cubes that come out of the fridge!”….

 

…”You absolutely adore your grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends, and your babysitter. We all love your contagious laugh, smile, and cute grin. You look a lot like your mommy and daddy! You have daddy’s eyes but you have a lot of mom’s features too despite what everyone thinks! Actually with your blonde hair you look at lot like Aunt Jaci at this age.”

 

“Some of my favorite memories of this time right now are when I rock you before bed, we cuddle and I sing songs. Ever since you were born I have sung Amazing Grace every time I’ve rubbed your back or rocked you. Daddy thinks someday you will fall asleep in church as soon as it starts playing! Now you often try to sing along, and sometimes interrupt requesting I sing you the “Muffin Man song”…I pray each night the scripture we have on your wall… that the Lord will bless you and Keep you, make his face shine upon you and give you… and you finish it by saying, “Peace.” I pray that is true and as the years go by you will memorize that verse and many more. My prayer is that the Lord will protect you as you grow up in this crazy mixed up world and that people will see Christ through you.”

Love Mom

And here are a few excerpts from Dad’s letter:

“You love pretending to go ‘night night’ complete with a hilarious snoring impression. You make sure everyone has a pillow, a blanket and you rub your baby’s back. Within a few minutes, you shout ‘Up!’ and it’s time to get up”

“I’m pretty sure your could eat bananas (mananas) and yogurt with blueberries and raspberries (yo-yo blue-blue razz-razz) for every meal.”

“I love that you will give me a hug when I ask and you are so concerned about my hands when they have booboos from CrossFit. You frown and show me your booboos too.”

“You love singing songs before bed and your favorite’s are Row, Row, Row Your BoatThe Wheels on the Bus, and Do You Know the Muffin Man. And during the muffin man song, you make us sing verses for each of your stuffed animals.”

Love Dad

Birthday Party Fun!

It’s been a little while since we’ve put out a blog post! For one reason I (Melody) have been crazy busy with work, but thankfully my 5 week module course I teach is over! So a little time to catch up on life now!  In March we celebrated birthdays a lot! K turned two and Dustin turned 30+ that! 🙂 We ended up traveling to the Cleveland area for some appointments right before K’s birthday, so we celebrated on her birthday with the Hartzlers. It was warm enough to be outside so we took a walk, and played on the swing-set. We had steak and baked sweet potatoes, K’s favorite meal. She can eat steak like it’s her job. Thank the Lord!.. it took her awhile to finally eat meat for us, I thought I was going to have to puree it until she went to Kindergarten!

Earlier in the day we tried to get some Easter lamb pictures with one of Grandpa Hartzler’s lambs, but K wasn’t so excited about that. These are the best 3 pictures we got..she cried when the lamb and the bunny were out and was a little overwhelmed by new people and the lights in the studio. The studio photoshopped a lamb picture for Grandpa! Thankfully we got some better ones the following week at home! Maybe next year she’ll warm up to Grandpa’s baby “ba-ba’s”

A few weeks later, we were able to celebrate K’s bday with my family, this time with a Minnie Mouse theme! Dustin’s parents did join us as well. I just realized we don’t really have many pictures of her with other people, apparently we need to do better at that. I have 176 photos from that day mostly of her ha! I made the same cupcakes again, I used this recipe except didn’t use near that amount of honey, used gluten free flour, extra oil no almond milk, and goat milk yogurt because that is what we had. Even the adults thought they were good! The icing was this recipe with no honey, just a little maple syrup. I did top them with some enjoy life chocolate chips, that was her birthday splurge!

 

 

 

 

2015 Christmas Letter

We can’t believe it’s December already, it seems like just yesterday we were planning a 1 year old birthday bash! 2015 has been a challenging year but full of so many blessings as well.

I have been navigating some health issues since late January, but recently feeling better and pray that journey will soon just be a piece of my story. It is amazing to see how God has used what I’ve learned along the way to help others friends, co-workers, and my patients. We are always thankful for the journey.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

Baby K is no longer a baby, she is growing into a beautiful smart, active little girl. In April, I got to join Dustin on one of his work trips that happened to be meeting in Belize. Wow, what a beautiful place. Words can’t describe the turquoise blue water that we were able to snorkel in on the “fun day” his team had planned. Since this was the first time away from little K for more than a night I didn’t stay long, but enough to soak in some sun and relax a little. I did catch up on some blogging myself. I absolutely love Hawaii and finally was able to convert our journal from our 2011 trip to blog posts. If you want to check those out for ideas for an upcoming trip, here you go! Someday we’ll make it back! Or move there. 🙂

In preparation for teaching abroad this summer, I also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on intercultural learning in June. This workshop was a week long in Madrid, Spain. If you didn’t see our posts, here they are! We had the opportunity to finish the trip in Valencia visiting the site/city where I will be teaching in May – June of 2016. Next time K will be going us!

After that trip K & I stayed low key the rest of the summer while Dustin traveled to Dallas and Charlotte in July and August for the Podcast Movement and FinCon, where he represented WordPress and spoke at both events.

In September, we spent a week in Orlando soaking up the sun with Dustin’s parents. It was a great time to go, much less crowded, still sunny and warm but not quite as crazy hot. No Disney for us yet, unless you count Downtown Disney! We spent most of the time at the pool, and headed to the beach one day, but K was not a fan. She does look at lot like me, but she really must not be mine if she doesn’t like the beach! We actually just realized we didn’t do a post on vacation this year, so here are some of the photos!

In October Dustin headed to Park City, Utah again to spend a week with his whole company. He enjoyed the time getting to see his colleagues face to face and learning new skills. Automattic now has over 400 employees. Check out their hiring page if you have any background in WordPress or web development. It has been such a blessing to our family for Dustin to have a great job with a lot of flexibility while I also navigate a career and a toddler.

November was super low key, we didn’t travel anywhere except to Harrison (Cincinnati) for Thanksgiving Dinner at my sister’s. And December is off to a good start, I had a great birthday and Dustin and I just got back from New Orleans. I spoke at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting. It  was a great conference for networking and continuing education. Dustin worked with a colleague and caught up with his friend Drew from ONU (whose wife was also attending the meeting) while I was busy with “pharmacy stuff.”

We are excited for Christmas with little K. She is loving just about everything right now and working on her ABCs. Elmo and Minnie  (“Mim-mee”) Mouse are her current favorites! Here are some of our favorite moments from the year.

We wish you and your family a blessed Christmas season filled with love, laughter, smiles, and the peace that only our Savior Jesus Christ can bring.

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 (ESV)

First Birthday Fun

 

Hi Everyone!  It’s crazy how fast this year as gone. Last week we celebrated K’s first birthday. We got her first birthday pictures the day before her party which is always fun!

We had both our families and some local friends over for her party.  She had fun opening the presents, she liked the bags the best!  She loves walking around with a small gift bag and putting things in it. She’s running all over the place and learning new things every day.  We are so thankful for the past year and looking forward to what God has in store for the next one!

Dustin & Melody