Enjoy an Outing to Duck Donuts

the adventure

Go pick out some tasty treats with my oldest daughter, at our favorite neighborhood donut shop. We have been a handful of times, but today felt special being on summer vacation.

the contender

Two donut enthusiasts; who enjoy the smells, respects the process, & could eat 1/2 a dozen each if you let us.

the experience

When your husband asks to stop by Duck Donuts for some afternoon treats, you don’t hesitate to second guess him.

As of last week, our summer has been in full swing. Amongst the chaos of moving and maneuvering our family of four, I have found it hard to get back into the swing of things. I have had my oldest daughter’s summer schedule all set since April (day camps & activities). My work schedule has been pretty solidified, I’m sure there will be some last minute changes & additions (cause there are always). However my O.C.D. hasn’t helped me get my bearings in our new home. I have always been a creature of habit, my friends will remind me how I would get irate seeing my Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers in the incorrect order or not facing the correct way. Even as a performer it always took me it least a week to figure out where my possessions should be & where I was facing onstage verses the studio.

So the same thing is to be expected when a giant move is happening. My friends and family joked and knew I would have everything unpacked within a week, which I did. And yes that feels great, but everything else gets shifted; the routes getting to and from, the floor plan has changed, closet formation is different, noises around the neighborhood are unfamiliar. My husband and the girls are adjusting well - normal routine & business as usual seems to be the name of the game for all of them. I know I will snap out of it, there are a lot of lists in my brain, my day planner, scattered post-its & even in my phone reminding me of the MANY things I need to get done for our home, appointments, documents & oh yea actual work.

Today was no different, after our very packed morning of activities for my oldest daughter, teaching, appointments, & multiple feedings for my Baby Bear - going to Duck Donuts was a much needed reward!

Normally you can expect a line (short or long), however I think the universe was trying to give me a break, NO ONE was in there. I was greeted by one of the two workers. I knew exactly what to order, 3 Fudge Pop, 2 Cookies & Cream, and 1 Vanilla icing with Oreo crumbles. Watching them choose the freshly baked cake donuts, place them into your box & finalizing them with your toppings is one the most satisfying feelings you’ll witness. A finely orchestrated pastry symphony.

Our short drive home, my husband, Bear & I enjoyed and devoured all 6 donuts in a matter of minutes. And in those short, very gratifying moments - I reminded myself to ENJOY the small things and take one thing at a time concerning my MANY lists. Thank you, Duck Donuts for your warm & delicious reminder to calm down.

Continue to follow my journey throughout this summer!


Start Training for the Dopey Challenge


The Adventure

Commit to starting to train for the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge - running 48.6 miles through all of the WDW parks in a matter of four days.
(Disclaimer: We’re not talking the Dopey Challenge in 2020, we’re talking more in the range of Dopey Challenge 2030 or something like that).

the contender

In February of 2018, I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon, seven weeks pregnant, and totally unprepared.

I had always wanted to run a half marathon and have always loved Disney, so when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to run with her (her second half marathon), I was so thrilled I agreed and packed everything without even thinking.

A few months before we were scheduled to run through the Magic Kingdom, my friend let me know she could no longer make it to the race, so I had to decide if I was going to back away from the challenge, as I tended to do my entire life, or finally step up and run it by myself. I decided I needed to do this race for me: I needed to prove to myself that I could not only run a half marathon but endure all of the other things that seemed impossible to me.

It completely changed my life.

I remember almost every minute of it.
The thrill, the energy, the shameless amount of times I went to the bathroom before the race, my husband’s face at the giant letter “F” for our our new shared last name with a giant Pooh Bear at the end of the race.
I remember being remarkably surprised that my Princess Anna tutu didn’t chaff my skin and that I didn’t starve to death over the course of the 13.1 miles.
I remember the relief I felt when I ran past the Sweeper Bus that would pick up the runners who couldn’t finish within the allotted 3-1/2 hours.
And, of course, I remember the pain. The incredible shooting pain through my leg that reminded me I actually had accomplished something I had convinced myself I couldn’t do.

As I ran across the finish line, I broke into tears realizing I had completed something I had fully convinced myself would never happen.
It was a moment when I realized I was much stronger, braver, and resilient than I allowed myself to believe.
It was a moment when I realized I was capable of enduring much more than what I strive for.
It was a moment when I realized life is only limited by the beliefs and restrictions we create for ourselves.
It was a moment when I realized that life can be much more vibrant and colorful when we are present about each step forward we take.

On the way home from Florida, I started brainstorming ways I could keep this feeling alive: the feeling of accomplishing anything I set my mind to.

I decided, on that Delta Airlines flight, I would set the goal to complete the RunDisney Dopey Challenge (48.6 miles in a series of four races through Walt Disney World over four days).

It was the perfect plan to continue on this race-running high and the best way I could think of to be the best role model for my soon-to-arrive baby.

Two weeks later, the miscarriage came.

At our first doctor’s appointment since finding out I was pregnant, we discovered our what-was-to-be-baby measured ten days behind where we anticipated.
I, naive and hopeful, thought nothing of it.
They scheduled us for an ultrasound one week later, where we were excited to see a tiny little peanut appear.

The second ultrasound, more thorough than the first, showed our not-likely-to-be-baby had not yet made its debut.
Our doctor recommended one last ultrasound one week later to give we're-just-hoping-to-be-fashionably-late-baby a chance to materialize.
Many tears, many bars of chocolate, and many wishes that I could drink a glass (or six) of champagne later, I became prepared for the news that 99.9% of me already believed to be the truth: I was no longer having a baby - at least not now.
A pregnancy that had completely changed our world slipped through our fingers like sand.
The idea of names and nurseries, hedgehog swaddle blankets and giant Pooh Bears had to be set aside for another patient day of peeing on a stick.

I had a D+C procedure, less than four hours after that final ultrasound, the one that finally confirmed what we had been expecting: I was having a miscarriage.

It completely changed my life.

I remember almost every minute of it.
I remember feeling like I was waking up from one of those immensely vivid pregnancy dreams that used to horrify me in college - the ones that feel palpably real, but were just my brain's way of processing the fact that I was bloated from too much cheese bread - except this time I had actually been pregnant.
I remember trying to be cheerful about the fact that the procedure was over and that that meant we could try to get pregnant again.
I remember driving home and counting the number of ways I was blessed and trying to be grateful for those countless things.
I remember telling myself that this experience was just making room for the baby we were meant to have.
I remember returning to work the day after my D+C, my boss being the only person who had known I was pregnant and now wasn’t, and having to pretend like nothing happened.
I remember uncontrollably crying in the shower a few days later when the mask of gratitude could no longer cover the amount of grief I was feeling.

Several weeks later, as I sat on my front porch reflecting on the events in my recent life, I broke into tears realizing I had gone through something I never believed would happen.
It was a moment when I realized even though having a miscarriage was once of the hardest experiences of my life, in the end, it made me feel incredibly grateful for the days I had been able to call myself a Mom, the most important role of my life.
It was a moment when I realized I had been living each of those days with joy, presence, and gratitude in my heart and how different that was from my general state of timidity, over-anaylzing, and saving things for the “perfect” opportunity.
It was a moment when I realized how much lighter and vivid my life had felt during those days because, much like the day of my half marathon, I was focusing more on presence than on worry.
It was a moment when I realized the best we can do in life is show appreciation for the day ahead of us because nothing in life is guaranteed and everything can change in the blink of an eye.
It was a moment when I realized just how much my obsession with doing things “just right” and always “keeping it together” was really restricting me from having real connection and spirit in my life.

Running a half marathon is a very lonely experience.
It's just you and the road.
You, alone, have to push yourself to keep moving forward.
No one can understand the exact mental and physical rollercoaster you are going through, even if they have been through it themselves.
Going through a miscarriage feels pretty much the exact same way … except that no one talks about it.

But through both experiences you learn similar things.
You learn how much stronger you can be in the face of adversity.
You learn how many people are rooting you on.
You learn how to be patient and trust that, eventually, the end will present itself.
You learn that you just have to tell yourself “You CAN do this” one more time than you say “You can’t”.
You learn that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone brings you to a place where you can learn how capable you are and how amazing things can be on the other side of fear.
You learn how to cherish every day of the journey.
You learn how glorious the celebration at the finish line can be.

the experience


Just over one year from those events, I am sitting at my computer with my newborn daughter laying across my lap and she is the inspiration I have always needed to finally put this goal into motion.

You see, while I’ve had this plan in mind since that sore-leg-filled flight back in February of 2018, my unwavering sense of fear has kept me from taking that first step to truly committing to what it would take to accomplish.
Fear of admitting this impossible goal to anyone who knows how much I huff + puff at any amount of cardiovascular activity.
Fear of having to break habits and order the salad instead of the cheese curds when I go out to eat.
Fear of having to be “selfish” and get my workouts in instead of take care of my family.
Fear of failure when I’m not able to meet my daily goals (which, spoiler alert, I did on my very first day … more on that later).
Fear of injury or physically not being able to accomplish what I am setting out to do.

But as I downward-dogged through my hot yoga class today and our instructor kept reminding us to think of our “intention” (something I often don’t even bother with when I take classes), I kept picturing my daughter’s face.
I pictured what she might look like at various stages of her life, watching me live mine, and how my actions, decisions, and words would affect her.
I pictured her rooting me on when I want to give up and how I never wanted to see her give up on herself.
I pictured her copying my every move and how I never wanted her to think she wasn’t capable of doing something.
I pictured her listening to the way I talk and how I never wanted her to say a negative thing about her abilities.

Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t meet my goals for the day - the very first day of this commitment.
But it’s almost kind of perfect.
At least I got that first “failure” out of the way.
But, you know, as I sit here with sore legs and arms, two workout outfits completely soaked with sweat (sorry, gross), a much more patient and positive attitude than when I started, and the knowledge that I finally began, it hardly feels like I failed.

So what if I only walked 2.31 miles instead instead of the 5.00 that I had set out to do.
I “hot yogaed” and did a 30-minute cardio workout on a rainy Wednesday with a newborn daughter (who suddenly doesn’t want to nap) at home.

I’ll be checking in with this goal every day on my Instagram account and, as you can tell from my Summer Adventure List I have a lot of health + wellness adventures on my docket.

I hope you’ll follow along with what is likely to be a sweaty and sore-muscle filled journey from the couch to (many 5k’s,10k’s, half marathons, and marathons, and eventually many years down the line) the Dopey Challenge!





meet dani

My name is Dani and I am a 33-year-old wife and a mother of two ridiculous pit bulls and a newborn baby girl, Peanut.
I had a high-risk IUGR pregnancy and my daughter was born at 4-pounds, 1-ounce at 37-weeks-old. She might be tiny, but she is mighty.
I live on a farm-ette in rural Wisconsin and have absolutely no idea how to take care of it.
I am a dance teacher who will always leap in public places, squeal at Nutcracker music, and value being a good role model over everything else.
I have worked for 11 years in the animal behavior and welfare industry and will unwaveringly advocate for animals.
I am a front-porch nursing, baby-wearing mama bear.
I will always notify you when there are rainbows or cows in sight.
I believe good things happen when it snows.
I could eat nachos seven days a week for the rest of my life.
I am a professional bargain shopper.
I am an early bird who has a seriously hard time getting up in the morning.
If I am not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I'm crying.
I will celebrate all of the Holidays, even talk like a pirate day.
I am 100% an Aries.
My greatest pet peeves are people who make noise in the movie theater, dried up Sharpies, and people who don't put their shopping carts away.
I believe there is always a good reason to drink cheap champagne.
I become a vicious monster if I haven't eaten in more than three hours.
I am learning how to cook but have an irrational fear of setting my house on fire.
I am namas'cray about hot yoga.
Like many women I have undergone the heartbreak of having a miscarriage.
I lived in Wyoming for three years and it will always hold a big piece of my heart.
Seasons of Love will forever be my favorite song of all time.
Leslie Knope, Taylor Swift, and Princess Anna are my soul sisters.
If I were a breakfast pastry I would be a toasted butter croissant.
I will leave at least one string of Christmas lights up year-round.
I am an awkward conversationalist and DREAD having small talk.
My favorite places are Walt Disney World, New York City, and Yellowstone National Park.
I have a strong aversion about my hands and feet unexpectedly touching slimy stuff and will not swim in open water.
My favorite color is yellow.
If I were a dog, I would be a Jack Russell Terrier.
I believe impossible things are possible, that life is beautiful even when it is hard, and that the universe works in mysterious ways when we are on our true path.



meet taylor

My name is Taylor and I am a 36-year-old wife and mother of two beautiful girls, 8-year-old Bear and 8-month-old Little Bear.
I am a retired ballet dancer, a current ballet instructor/coach/mentor, and an Executive Director of a ballet company.
I am a feisty, in your face true Asian.
I live in the Twin Cities metro.
I identify myself as a true, proud Minnesotan (especially when it comes to bragging about the Winters).
I am a true + loyal friend, and I will tell you when you have something in your teeth.
I am 100% a Leo.
I think I am a professional eater (but don’t trust me to cook).
I have never liked the feeling of grass on my bare feet.
I love going to the movies.
I love Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.
I will never get tired of watching Friends or Gilmore Girls.
I take crafting very seriously.
My all time favorite song will always be Tom Jones It’s Not Unusual.
I still use my iPod and purchase music the “old-fashioned” way.
Swimming is my least favorite activity.
I am ALWAYS hot (thus my LOVE for Winter).
I watch way too much Bravo.
My true friends call me Tay and my family calls me T.C.
I have major OCD: everything must have a place.
I got bored taking ballet classes, so I began my journey at the yoga studio - I am a current Barre Burn instructor who loves a good Hot or Vinyasa practice.
I LOVE Christmas and our decor goes up on November 1st.
I have a major blast laugh.
My favorite place is Walt Disney World and when I retire, you will find me working on Main Street USA selling accessories.
You only have to tell me once to do something.
I often dream I am falling and wake up incredibly panicked.
I am scrappy, thrifty, and love a good bargain.
I enjoy the University of Kansas Jayhawks basketball season.
I will always spoil my daughers, but ponder over the $10 shirt for myself.
My entire life has been a roller-coaster of a ride, my highs are high and my lows are low - either stay on the ride or get off.
I believe in magic, achieving the impossible, and the power of laughter!