404 Barista Mommy — Serving up a beautifully crazy, caffeinated life.

Homeschool Adventu..



Over the summer when I decided to start “homeschooling” with Peter I made sure that I had the right perspective and realistic expectations. He is only two years old but his desire to learn is evident. So I did my research and found some preschool curriculums (ages 2-4) that I wanted to try and ordered them. I looked up a lot montessori activities on Pinterest and wrote down a list of supplies that would come in handy. The boys and I took a trip the dollar store and loaded up on a ton of supplies and other random things that we needed. From there I looked at the two curriculums and pulled from them the activities that would work for his age. In the end, each lesson plan consisted of songs, poems, crafts, montessori activities, and counting. I like to say it’s Sesame Street in person. Lord knows I can do a great Cookie Monster impression.

I soon realized that if we were going to get a lesson in, that it had to be pretty soon after breakfast. Peter has a “golden hour” for homeschool fun. If we try to do it too close to lunch or after his nap it is usually disastrous. Sometimes it’s disastrous anyway but that’s ok. Going into this I knew my intentions weren’t to push him or help him “get ahead”, I mean like I said… he’s two. I’m doing this because I love how he lights up when we sing together and when he figures stuff out for the first time. I’m doing it because he is so proud of his crafts/activities and can’t wait to show them off when Daddy comes home.


Our lessons take about 30-40 minutes max. Sometimes he’s really into one thing more than the others so I let him spend more time on it. Annnnndddd sometimes he could care less about pretty much everything and we whip right through it. I’m not sure how much he’s absorbing but you never know right? I’d like to think his subconscious is taking it all in and saving it for later!

These are the curriculums (and the notebook where I combine them) that I’m using. So far, I love them both!


 On Monday we introduce the “Letter of the Week”. Then everyday after that, we focus on just that letter and do some activities that connect to that letter. A typical lesson will look like this:

~Opening prayer/songs (Catholic Icing).

~Talk about the Letter of the Week (Catholic Icing).

~Find the letter of the week in a pile of other letters.

~Draw letter of the week on the white board.

~Find letter of the week in a small pile of wooden letters.

~A craft/activity or two usually having to do with the letter of the week (26 letters to heaven).

-Practice counting (hopefully with something that starts with LOTW).

~Read our bible verses and poems for the week (26 letters to heaven)

~Closing songs and prayer (Catholic Icing).

~Then through out the day we are reading books and dancing to the Frozen soundtrack…. at least three times a day.

There is a lot of repetition in what we do each day of the week. I think that for this early on in Peter’s learning development, consistency is key. Thats why we take a whole week to focus on one letter, not just a day or so. The activities will change from day to day but for the most part, everything (and the order we do it in) stays the same. It’s really sweet because he’ll come up to me and ask to do homeschool (aka point at our LOTW white board).


Sometimes we just don’t get to homeschool on certain days and that’s ok. Somedays our “homeschooling” is simply making cookies, or going to the store and counting the produce as we put it into bags, or coloring pictures for family members, or even going outside and blowing bubbles! I don’t want Peter to have any negative feelings about doing his lessons. Next year I will use the same books and follow the same pattern but obviously the activities will match his age (3) just as they do now (2).

Being a stay at home mom can be tricky but I truly believe that structure and routine is the key to sanity. With that said…I also believe that understanding that sometimes your routine can become completely wrecked and THAT’S OK.

So far Peter (and James) and I are really enjoying our little lessons. Here are some images from our first couple weeks!



Peter loves this little Montessori activity. He matches the colored balls into the corresponding cup. You could easily recreate this with simpler materials. This activity is from House Mountain Natural.


We did an Angel (Catholic Icing) at the  end of “A” week. The wings were supposed to be Peter’s handprints but he was NOT a fan of having paint on his hands. It was hilarious. So we just took a sponge brush and used that instead. Peter glued down all the pieces and Mommy drew the creepy face. Obviously art lessons will be with Dad.

While I work with Peter, James listens to all the songs and poems while coloring or playing with his blocks. Now, I’m not trying to make James memorize the periodic table of elements! It’s just fun to think that by playing with these blocks, he will be familiar with them and someday he’ll have that “Aha!” moment. Maybe.



It usually ends up like this….


When it was the letter “B” Peter spent time stringing big beads onto pipe cleaner.


Friday’s lesson is usually a bit more relaxed but Peter always does one very important activity…


Peter arranges flowers in a vase for Mary!


“To Jesus through Mary!”

When Aria gets here our lessons will probably be a little more sporadic but that’s ok. As far as homeschooling goes, we have a very exciting adventure ahead of us!

Weekend Notes


Last week was crazy.

In between the usual chaos that comes with being 7 months pregnant and taking care of irish twins, there was even more chaos. On Wednesday I basically just made myself come to terms with the fact that my house was just going to be a big fat mess until at least Saturday. So where was all the crazy coming from? Andrew’s youth group was going on retreat this weekend so we had to get him ready for that. I had also been asked to contribute a “Communion of Saints Wall” for the weekend. It was so much fun to make but it did take some extra time. Peter and James got away with a lot last week… A lot. But the wall turned out almost exactly as I had pictured and the teens on retreat liked it, so obviously it was worth it.


On Friday we said goodbye to Andrew and then things got serious. For almost two hours (while the boys napped thanks be to God) I was furiously working away on some decorations for my bff’s engagement party. There I was in all my pregnancy glory huffing and puffing and sweating profusely. I was totally working against the clock because not only was the party that night but I had a wedding to attend that evening as well. Now… I didn’t mean for these events to coincide. Pregnancy brain for the win! I knew the wedding was that weekend because Andrew couldn’t make it due to the retreat. So I ASSUMED it was Saturday. Nope. I was wrong. It was Friday. So here I was frantically running around the house getting myself ready, getting the boys ready, wrapping presents, and making decorations all because of my giant brain blunder. Let this be proof my friends that pregnancy brain does in fact exist and it does not mess around.

Anyway… Dropped the boys off at Helmsdeep where they had a splendid time playing with their grandparents as well as their aunts and uncles. Then I was off to the wedding!10301290_10152410164033388_2031266789900012551_n

It was so wonderful to see my good friend Danielle tie the knot with the wonderful Keith Downey. Plus, I got to see some friends from out of town that I don’t get to see very often anymore!


Then after giving my best to the bride and groom I was off to see the future bride and groom at the engagement party.


From left to right… The lovely Annie, my pregnant self, and Emma the bride to be <3 I really wish the wedding and the party had been on different nights because I felt like I missed out a little on both. However, I’m still thankful that I was able to be present for both of my wonderful friends, even if it was brief.

After crashing extremely hard into bed Friday night, the boys and I woke refreshed and excited for a much needed relaxing day. We ran some errands and then came back to the house where I was finally able to attack “the mess”. Our poor kitchen table is set up to seat eight yet I could barely make out the table underneath the mess.

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Finally the beast was tackled and the boys and I went over to see Andrew’s parents for the evening. We had a delicious dinner and the boys got to play with a new train set and help make some yummy cupcakes.

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Then on Sunday morning everything was going great until Peter face planted onto the tile floor running full speed. There was blood. Like a lot. Thankfully I was getting ready to give them a bath so the water was running and I was able to just scoop Peter up and put him in the tub. His poor upper lip was bleeding pretty bad for a while and he was unconsolable for over 40 minutes. For the next couple hours I was trying to determine if I needed to take him into the ER or not. It had stopped gushing blood but it was still bleeding so that’s why I was concerned. Finally after talking with my Dad (the doctor), Peter’s pediatrician, and some awesome moms, it was decided that he didn’t need to go in. I learned that….

~The mouth bleeds A LOT.

~If I would have taken him to the ER they most likely would have just cleaned him up and sent us home.

~They rarely do stitches in the mouth.

~Giving him a popsicle helped with the swelling and pain.

~Advil, Motrin etc. needs to be administered as soon as possible.

So yeah. My husband missed out on ALL THE FUN! After Peter had napped, eaten his popsicle, and calmed down, we headed to church because my middle school youth group was meeting that day (great timing right?!). However, thanks to a wonderful team the afternoon went awesome and my kids ended up making a ton of sack lunches for the homeless. Total win.


James was a little peeved that he wan’t at home frolicking in his diaper and playing with his toys. But soon after that, Andrew was finally back, we went to mass, came home and once again, completely passed out.

Here is hoping for a much calmer week with a little less blood, sweat, and tears!

Michigan Memories


It’s hard to believe that a week ago we were returning from our trip to Michigan. It was such a whirlwind trip tinged with bittersweet moments. While I still feel like I’m playing catch-up, I loved going through all the pictures from our trip. I took over 800 photos. Narrowing down the ones to share was so hard! Somehow I managed to get to 40 for this blog post. Now I have to decide which ones to hang in the house!


On the airplane!


The church that held Grandma’s funeral has an awesome nursery.


Papa Mark outside his childhood home with grandson number 2.


After the funeral, family gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house to spend time together.


I have crazy eyes. But I still love this picture with my cousin Emily.


James says “Peter get off the phone!”


Playing in Grandma’s garden.



Cousin Audrey. So cute!




Spending time at the orchard.




The church where my Dad grew up!




One of Grandma’s favorite places was the Christmas store in Frankenmuth.




Good to know.




Best Pumpkin Pie latte found here.


Goodbye Frankenmuth!

The boys love siting on my lap and looking through all our Michigan pictures. When we came home my Dad said that the trip will just feel like a wonderful dream to them. I hope the images I took will help make that dream into memories…

Dear Aria – ..




Dear Aria,

29 weeks… Baby girl this happened so fast! The last month and a half has been a whirlwind. But you know that, I can tell by your constant kicking and squirming that you can sense the crazy!

I came back from my ultrasound today and when Peter greeted me at the door he patted you and said “baby!”. He might just be starting to understand! When we ask James “Where’s Aria?” he pats his own belly and smiles. Sooooo he still has a little way to go. Your brothers are so excited for your arrival. The other morning Peter was trying to put away some of your clothes, then he gave up and just started rolling in bed and hugging them. Like I said, they are so excited!

I don’t think I’ve been this excited for Christmas since I was little! Seeing your little profile on the ultrasound screen just made me even more eager to hold you in my arms. You are healthy and growing so well. Your current favorite things are Sunday donuts after church and Culver’s cement mixers with Reese’s peanut butter cups. And because you love them so much, I happily oblige. 

Love you to the moon and back.



Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple!

Dress//Caralase, Sweater//Jane, Glasses//Target, Shoes//Forever 21.

My Rosemary



Last week I received word that my beloved Grandma Rosemary had passed away. It was quick and it was sudden. The wound it left was deep. There are moments in time that will forever be burned into our hearts and minds. The moment I found out she was gone, is a moment that I will never forget. I will never forget what I was doing, which child I was holding, and how much it hurt.


In John 11:35 it says that “Jesus wept.” I have cried many times in my life but I have only truly wept on a few occasions. The day I found out my grandmother was gone, I wept. Everything felt so raw and exposed. This wound that had been inflicted upon my heart was so intense and there was nothing I could do to cover it up.


Grandma and I were both January babies so we often celebrated together.

Grandma Rosemary was a beautiful woman inside and out. She often smelled of hand soap and tea leaves, a scent I would breath in deeply whenever she was around. Her hugs were tight and her kisses soft. Her laughter would fill an entire room. She loved so deeply and intensely it was impossible not to leave her feeling a certain joy and peace that only comes with unconditional love.


At her funeral my father honored his mother with a eulogy that captured her true essence. Life is filled with both comedy and tragedy and sometimes we can become complacent in the in-between moments of those big events. Not Grandma. Grandma lived those in-between moments to the very fullest. She was a woman of detail, as a wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She embodied Mother Teresa’s saying of “Do small things with great love.” That was Grandma Rosemary. All her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would receive a birthday card from her every single year. In the card she would include a crisp $5 bill. That was the kind of detail and love in which she lived her life. James was the last one in our family to receive a birthday card from her. For some reason I hadn’t put it away in his piggy bank yet… After we received word that she was gone, I attached a note to the bill explaining that this was the “last one”, and I carefully folded it up and placed it in the piggy bank. Someday James will see it and I will tell him all about his amazing Great Grandmother but until then that perfect little detail it tucked safetly away…

The boys and I were blessed to be able to go back home to Michigan for her funeral. It was a very conflicting trip. The reason we were going was just too painful to think about but yet the idea of being around family was exciting and uplifting. The weekend was spent telling stories about Grandma and reveling in the amazing woman that she was. We laughed, we cried, we sang the same songs she used to. We visited her home (the same home my father and his siblings grew up in), admired her garden and took care to take our shoes off before walking on her immaculately white carpet. We spent time with Grandpa Dale and told him how much we loved him. Grandpa didn’t say much during the weekend but you could tell that half of him was gone… However, Grandpa is strong. He lived a life totally and utterly devoted to my Grandmother. Now he knows that he must continue on doing things exactly as she would have wanted. She will be with him everyday, at every moment, and every second for the rest of his life.

SONY DSC SONY DSCIt was hard to not expect Grandma to just turn a corner or come out the back door to be with her family. The pain of being so close to her yet so far away was evident on the faces of all who were present. However, everyone knew that it was exactly as she would have wanted. Grandma loved nothing more than being surrounded by family. Everyone knew it too, people kept saying “This is exactly what she would have wanted”. And it was. Though the lack of her presence hung in the air, she was there, in the details. As her grandchildren (and great grandchildren) laughed and ran around, she was there. As the soft autumn breeze blew in, she was there. As the leaves slowly began to turn colors, she was there.

She was there. Her smile, her laughter and her light is inside each and everyone of her children and their children and their children’s children…. There was a little piece of Rosemary all around us. For those that called her mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, there is that piece of her beauty within us. This is her legacy. This is the beauty she left behind….


Almost all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the little piece of silliness we got from her, too…


The days spent with family were so desperately needed. It brought healing and peace. While we are all still in great pain, it is comforting to know the mark she has left on all of our hearts. For me, the past few days gave my motherhood a “pep talk” if you will. As I reflected on her has a mother and grandmother I knew that it was the same qualities she contained that I want for myself. Back when Grandma only had 15 grand kids, her pastor asked her to give a 5 minute talk on Mother’s Day on what being a mother meant to her. My Aunt Mary lovingly read it at her funeral. I wept the entire time. I was so inspired and felt that she was speaking to my very soul. It was as if Grandma knew exactly what I was struggling with and she spoke the words I desperately needed to hear. Perhaps some day I’ll share her words with you. But for now, I feel that they need to stay close to family, tucked away in the hearts of her daughters and granddaughters.


Spending time in Michigan and doing some of her favorites things was really important for the healing process. The process however, is far from over. The reality of these whirlwind days will often lead me to catch my breath and allow a few fresh tears to fall down my face. It still hurts so much and the pain is still so very deep. But just as Grandma would have wanted, once that moment has passed, I focus on the task at hand and do it with as much joy and love as I possibly can. I remember how much she loved me and how much she enjoyed seeing me grow and become the woman I am today. I know that she is watching over me and is now a special intercessor as I ask for strength and guidance from God in this journey called motherhood.

I love you Grandma Rosemary. I always have. I always will.

Fall 2014 With War..



I’ve had the same glasses since my sophomore year of college. My eyes have gone through so many funky changes with my pregnancies I just didn’t see the point in getting a new pair if my prescription was just going to change again.

Then I discovered Warby Parker.

And THEN I discovered their fall line.

Be still my heart. Their new line of glasses reminds me of jumping in leaf piles (which I have done before despite living in AZ most of my life), football games, and pumpkin spice lattes. Maybe I wouldn’t have to wear fake hipster glasses anymore. Maybe, just maybe I could actually have a real pair of hipster glasses.


Online I browsed through many gorgeous glasses and then narrowed it down to five pairs. Lucky for me, Warby Parker has this sweet take home program where you have five days to try on your favorites and decide which ones you want. Super easy right? Wrong. Because for me, that just meant I wanted all five and I had no idea how I could possibly choose. That’s why husbands are such a wonderful thing to have! Andrew helped me narrow it down to the top three. Now I need your help! Which pair should I choose?! I styled the three different pairs with fall inspired accessories i.e. flannel scarves, fuzzy sweaters, and snazzy blazers.

A. The Marshall (Rum Cherry)


B. Greenleaf (Whiskey Tortoise)


C. The Chamberlain (Saddle Sage)



So help me choose! Quick, before my prescription changes again!

Mar Baby Musings: ..


My sister Marisa is well into her first semester of college at Ave Maria University. It was really hard to see her go but I know that she is going have an amazing four years in Florida. Before Marisa left we had one more “Mar Baby Adventure” (until December).

Marisa and discovered this cute little place called Goodness. They haven’t even been open a year yet but they are already the place to go for healthy eats. There had been a couple businesses in it’s place before but none of them had done very well. I’m almost positive that Goodness will not be suffering the same fate. When Marisa and I arrived we were immediately swooning over the white benches and the cute sign located just outside the restaurant.


Once we walked in, we were immediately overwhelmed by all the choices. Thankfully Marisa and I looked up the menu before we arrived so we had some idea of what we wanted, it was just a matter of narrowing it down!




I finally settled on the Cobb salad and the Big Melons fresh pressed juice. Marisa decided on the steak bowl and their hibiscus lemonade.


Marisa and I both cleaned our plates. The great part? We were full and we actually felt good about it. My sister and I share a love of food but that love often leads to regret…It was so wonderful to find a place with delicious food that didn’t leave us feeling like we over ate. I really wish that I lived closer to Goodness because I would be eating there all the time!


Before we left, we grabbed an iced coffee for the road. The coffee was so delicious! Strong, but delicious.



This is definitely a local eat that you do not want to miss! Oh and make sure you visit A Beautiful Mystery for all the outfit details!

Five Favorites Vol..

Five favorites Cover

So my “wish list” for baby Aria seems to grow everyday. Most of what she needs we already have and I have no doubt that come December her drawers will be full of adorable clothing. However, that hasn’t stopped me from starting a list of little things I’d like her to have but she doesn’t necessarily need. Look, I have to take advantage of the fact that as a baby she will be powerless to stop me from dressing her up and putting headbands on her cute little head. I have about a year before she’s rolling in the mud with her brothers and wants absolutely nothing to do with anything pink or sparkly. It’s just a simple fact. My mom was the third child born and she had two older brothers. You better believe she destroyed 90% of her pretty dresses by playing football in the front yard with my uncles and grandpa. So I’m pretty much preparing myself for the same set up. Anyway… here are my Five Favorite items on my err her wish list right now.

Five Favorites

1. How adorable are these crocheted crowns from Henny & Coco? Why would Aria need one? I have no idea but she would look adorable in one and that’s all that matters. Follow Henny & Coco on Instagram!

2. I feel bad because I didn’t really do much for a”nursery” for Peter or James. I mean they had all the basics but I didn’t decorate it special or anything. But for Aria I want ALL THE DECORATING. I’m currently working on a flower wall for over her crib but I’d also love a gold glitter sign for Little Dovie for over her crib as well. Follow Little Dovie on Instagram!

3. These little moccasins seem to be all the rage in the baby/toddler world. Obviously Aria isn’t going to actually need shoes for a while, but it would be nice to snag a pair for her first few months of life while it’s still a little chilly outside. What color you ask? Gold of course. These little mocs are from Wild Explorers. If you follow her on Instagram she’ll keep you posted on new colors and designs.

4. I’ve been interested in essential oils for quite some time now. I just have no idea where to start. I also don’t want to get caught up in spending a lot of money on oils I end up not using… However, I’d love to get some for the end of my pregnancy and then give certain ones a try once Aria is born. I started following Casey Leigh essentials on Instagram and she has great tips and ideas!

5. I’m kinda obsessed with everything from Sugar Plum Lane boutique. Blankets, burp cloths, leggings etc. If I could, I’d buy one of everything. But alas, I cannot. So I just settle for putting down the entire store on my wish list. Also their Instagram account is adorable and will keep you updated on sales and giveaways!

Well those are my Five Favorites! Have a wonderful day friends!

Dream Night Abroad


When I was in college I had a hard time deciding what to major in. I couldn’t decide between English Lit. and Classics. So like most things in my life, instead of choosing one I chose both. I loved Classics. I loved studying Greek and Latin and the beautiful ancient cultures they were married to. The Classics department at the UofA also had some amazing study abroad programs. Unfortunately because of swimming I never had the chance to participate in any of them. At the time it didn’t bother me at all. However, once swimming was over and I was a 5th year senior sitting in my capstone class, I found myself wishing I’d had the chance to travel with my peers. I really enjoyed hearing the stories from my professor and my fellow classmates about their trip the previous summer. There was lots of learning involved (obviously) but they also had some wild adventures to share. Listening to their stories was always the best part of class and I always found myself wishing for a chance to have similar adventures.


That’s why when Smartling, a website translator, asked me to help with their “Night Abroad” project I was super excited. For my imaginary trip I chose Athens, Greece (since that’s where the study abroad program took place). When traveling abroad there are a few things to consider such as language, food, and fashion. Unfortunately the amount of Greek I studied was pretty limited and most of it was in an academic sense (like translating super old writings) instead of actual conversational Greek. However, before a trip to Athens, I’d make sure to learn a few key phrases and definitely consult one of my good friends who is actually Greek! I’d also ask her what are some “must have” foods while over there. My Greek meal of choice is usually a massive gyro topped with tomatoes and lots of tzatziki sauce. So while I would certainly order one while in Athens, I’d like to think that I’d be adventurous enough to step out of my culinary comfort zone. While spending time in another country it’s easy to get intimidated by all the new food choices. Also, if I wasn’t pregnant, I’d make sure to try Ouzo, an anise flavored liquor. This came up a lot in the stories of my classmates and professor, so obviously I’d have to give it a try! I would also make sure to do a little wine tasting too. One of our class projects was an actual taste-testing of some Greek wines. I know…. rough life!

Finally, I’d have to consider what to wear for my dream night abroad. I’m pretty sure that no matter what I was wearing, I’d be labeled as a tourist. However, I’d still do my best to fit in with my wardrobe. Once again, choosing “just one” isn’t my strong suit, so I came up with an outfit for the day and then one for the evening. My day time look was comfy sandals, a maxi skirt and a maternity tee. Since this is pretty much my go-to outfit most days, I decided to mix prints to add a little something special.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCShirt//Old Navy (similar), Skirt//Forever 21 (similar), Shoes//White Mountain (similar)

For my evening outfit I chose a summery dress that left lots of room for my baby bump. The last thing I would want would to be exploring a different culture and be uncomfortable. I added some low-heeled yellow strapy sandals to dress up the look a little.

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCDress//Thrifted (similar), Shoes//DSW(similar), Earrings//Target (similar)

I hope that some day I really do get the chance to visit Greece and for hopefully more than just one day!

If you could go anywhere for just one night where would it be?

You are forbidden!