Christmas Wishes from Us to You, plus winners, and hashtags, and printables, oh my

Well, for those of you who are just dying of curiosity over which photo we went with for the Christmas card this year . . . it was the rocks one. In case your card got lost in the mail, here it is in blog form:

And in case you couldn't read that, here's the transcript:

Dear friends and family,

We hope this card finds you healthy, happy, and keeping warm.

We took a family trip to France and visited Lourdes for Gus’ First Holy Communion. It was lovely to be back, seven years after Gus went with mom and dad as a baby on our first trip to Lourdes, the one with the miracle.

In other international baby news, we went with just baby Lulu, on an unexpected trip around Spain with friends, and got to attend the beatification of Blessed Alvero del Portillo.

We spent Thanksgiving weekend in Southern Utah, visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon. The boys camped in a tent. The girls were snug in a cabin. And we grilled our turkey over an open fire.

Jack (12 1/2) flew back to LA while the rest of us were staying with Gramma and Papa in Chicago, to attend back-to-back weeks of summer camp. He’s in the 7th grade this year, is taking most of his classes online from MODG, and loves science and engineering. He’s currently researching patents in the hope of securing one for a XXXXXXXXXXX. The name of Jack's invention has been redacted at his request, so you don't steal it. He’s really taken up the kid birthday party-throwing mantle from his mom. Kid throws a good party. He is quite proud of the fact that he is now as tall as his Nana.

Betty (almost 11) is the founder (and currently the sole member) of the Junior Damas Archivistas of the San Fernando Mission. Which means she helps the old ladies serve coffee and donuts after Mass. She’s in the 5th grade, and likes crafts, reading, history, and does not hate math. She is currently making detailed plans for a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone birthday party in February, then six more birthday parties based on the six other books after that.

Bobby (9) got an insider view of the French healthcare system when he sliced his hand open on a pokey metal part of a very historic French wall. He got to attend Mt. Carmel football camp this summer in Chicago with Jack. He is in the fourth grade, but believes himself to be enrolled in fifth grade math by his own merits and not at all because his teacher wanted to combine his math lesson with Betty's. His favorite things are onions, kiwi birds, house flies, and the name Steve (he names flies, kiwi birds, and onions "Steve").

Gus (7) is fast, really fast. He was on his own sports teams this year, but he didn’t like those as much as being the practice squad for Jack’s championship flag football team. He got a trophy and everything. Now that he’s had his First Holy Communion, he gets to join Jack and Bobby as altar boys at the mission. He has a policy of taking his shirt off and doing pushups everywhere he goes.

Anita (5 1/2) is quite fond of her beauty mark, her yellow hair, and anything that has to do with the movie Frozen. She played soccer this year, and was as surprised as anyone when she scored three goals, in each of her last three games. She’s enjoying the first grade, which in her school, is taught mostly by the members of the fifth and seventh grades.

Frankie (3) is a real piece of work. He went from speaking almost not at all this time last year, to speaking constantly and at all times. He has a pretty hilarious case of grumpy resting face. His favorite things are shrieking, driving toy cars on the walls, and jumping on the couch. Unfortunately for him, none of those things are allowed in this house.

Lulu (1) is the sweetest baby we’ve ever met. The kids figure that she’s probably tied with baby John the Baptist for third place on the all time best babies list, after baby Jesus and the baby Virgin Mary, of course. Her constant beaming smiles at strangers really paid off on our trip to Spain, when a passing priest beheld the vision that is baby Lulu and insisted upon us taking his VIP seats for the beatification.

Jim is still working for DaVita, and coaching tee ball. He and Jack and Grandad climbed Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft) this year, after an unsuccessful attempt two years ago when Jack got altitude sickness.

Kendra is keeping busy homeschooling, mothering, and gestating baby Tierney number eight, due to arrive next summer. Her book (A Little Book About Confession for Kids) was published by Ignatius Press last spring. She continues to enjoy blogging at and hopes to spend her Christmas break writing a book on how our family celebrates the liturgical year. Or maybe just being queasy and watching Netflix. Your call, baby.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2015 to all.

the Tierneys
Jim, Kendra, Jack, Betty, Bobby, Gus, Anita, Frankie, Lulu, and tiny baby

I've got some winners to announce!

The two winners of the year's subscription to Netflix Streaming are . . .
Elizabeth of Super Swell Times, and Isabelle of England and France (I hope it will work there!)

The winner of the Living Our Faith With Older Kids giveaway is . . .
Nicole of Children of the Church

Enjoy your awesome prizes y'all!

And now, in case you didn't win, don't worry. It's still the season of giving and whatnot. So here are a couple Christmasy printables I made for you.

Please feel free to print or share them as you please, for any personal (but not commercial) use. To request a custom printable, visit my Etsy shop here.

Joy to the World on red . . .

And Joy to the World on White . . .

And just because we love this book and Anita keeps shouting this at us at unexpected moments throughout the day . . .

I wish you and yours the very merriest of Christmases!

And I'm going to be signing off of the blog for a bit for Christmas here. But I'd love to see you around Facebook or Instagram. Some other Catholic bloggers and I will be using the hashtag #twelvedays as we share about how we are celebrating Christmas for all of, ya know, Christmas. I hope you'll join us.

I would especially love to see it if you put on a Family Nativity Play, like, for instance, this one, that I typed up a few years (and kids) back. If you do one at your house, you can let me know via email or on the Catholic All Year Facebook page or tag me on Instagram (@kendra_tierney). And that would be AWESOME.

You may also enjoy these Christmasy-type posts, from Christmases past and present, but not future. Sorry.