Meet the Contributor: Danika Danker

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Hello, my name is Danika and I’m super excited to be a new contributor of the Flagstaff Moms Blog!  Here’s a little bit more about me.

Family: I grew up in south central Wisconsin and south central Pennsylvania with one younger brother.  We did everything together because we’re only 13 months apart.  I attended college very close to home at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, where I graduated with a BS in Biology and a BA in Spanish.  During my studies, I lived abroad in Viña del Mar, Chile, where I attended the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso for a semester. I also traveled to El Salvador and New Zealand as part of my studies.  My husband, David grew up in Tucson and moved to Flagstaff in 2010 to study forestry at NAU.  He now works for the US Forest Service.  Our Daughter, Baby E, joined us in September of 2018 and our two golden retrievers, Cimarron and Taos, are still jealous.  Both David and I visited all 50 states before baby E was born and we can’t wait to visit each one all over again with her!

What Brought you to Flagstaff: My husband and I met “at boy scout camp” in northeastern New Mexico and began dating during a seasonal placement at Philmont Scout Ranch.  After a year of long-distance dating, he asked me to move to Flagstaff so we could try living in the same town.  After three months in Flagstaff, he proposed to me at Ribbon Falls, in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Something you love about yourself: I’m really shy about it, but I love to sing and I did lots of musical theater and choir in high school.  I love the way baby girl reacts to my voice.

Early Bird or Night Owl:  I definitely do my best work in the morning.  I can’t even stay up to watch TV or movies if I’m tired—even at the movie theater 😀

Coffee or Tea: Usually coffee (pre-college me is shuddering at this thought).  Caramel latte, caramel macchiato, or dirty chai, please… or boba tea.

Hobbies: Backpacking, Cross-stitching, singing, being in a feminist book club, making my daughter laugh and taking in the myriad of noises she makes.

Going back in time, one thing you would tell yourself right before you became a mother: Be a self-advocate. Mind-reading is not a thing.  One must learn to speak up for herself so she can better speak for her children.

Something you’re looking forward to: I don’t mean to rush her, but baby E is on the cusp of 1) cutting some teeth and 2) sitting up by herself.

Favorite thing to do in Flagstaff with/without kids: First Friday (family) date night/ Wine Loft (Flag Terroir) with girlfriends

Best mom hack: Alexa. Alexa to turn on all the lights, Alexa to turn off all the lights.  Alexa to log feedings, make shopping lists, dim the lights, play our favorite music, and set all the timers.

The greatest challenge you’ve faced: I’ve climbed some pretty rough mountains.  I graduated from college with two degrees in four years, I gave birth without drugs outside a hospital setting.  I’ve run a few half marathons.  The hardest things I’ve ever done, however are 1) say goodbye to 3 of mine and 2 of my husband’s grandparents and 2) learn to breastfeed my baby (more on that coming soon).

Favorite thing about being a mom: My daughter’s laugh.  Watching her interact with my husband.  Planning out all of the experiences and adventures I want to share with her someday.

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Danika Danker is a native of south-central Wisconsin and south-central Pennsylvania. She has a BS in Biology and a BA in Spanish from Messiah College (now Messiah University) in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She moved to Flagstaff in 2013 to join her true love, who proposed to her at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She loves telling people about how she met her husband at “boy scout camp,” or Philmont Scout Ranch, a 220 square-mile national high-adventure/backpacking camp of the Boy Scouts of America. Danika is a toddler mom and plans to add a baby into the mix eventually. She processes her experience through reading, writing, and shared experience. The Danker family enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, eating green chiles and spending time with their two golden retrievers, Cimarron and Taos. Both Danika and David have been to all 50 states and are starting over with baby E.

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