Dear Gentle Readers,

Thank you so much for being the best online community a gal could have. Thanks for your comments and opinions, your questions and your encouragement. Thanks for making this blog one of my favorite spaces. I wish you and yours a most beautiful Christmas season!

And since I may have misplaced your address, here’s a copy of this year’s Christmas card, just for YOU!

Photo credit: my friend Micaela from California to Korea

Well played, two thousand fifteen. Seriously.

You started out pretty regular: house, job, homeschool, family vacation to the East Coast. Saw the sights around Washington DC, visited the homes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and our cousin Luke, battled on the fields of Gettysburg, let the kids attempt to seek employment as child-reenactors at Colonial Williamsburg. (They were turned down: blah, blah, blah, child labor laws.)

So, regular.

Then, towards the end of the school year, things took a turn for the . . . interesting. Jack got expelled from homeschool decided eighth grade would be the appropriate time to transition to traditional schooling. So we needed to move. We spent the next five months negotiating with sellers, agents, bankers, and inspectors until we finally became the owners of the most amazing 1920 tumbledown mansion you ever did see. Weedy tennis court? We got one. Cabana full of bees? Two. We have two cabanas full of bees. Nine bedrooms? Check. Secret chapel? Yep. And a moldy butler’s pantry and a rickety servants’ staircase. But we can’t seem to find those guys.

It needs . . . some work. If we had an unlimited budget, it would end up the awesomest house ever. As it is, it’s probably barely going to crack the top ten. But still.

And that’s only the second craziest thing we did this year. First prize goes to . . .

Mary Jane (5 months) who, after forty-five minutes of labor, was accidentally born at home, in the bathtub. She has continued to make our lives exciting and memorable.

Lulu (2) has got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in her heart. Her favorite things are getting her hair done, putting toys away, rosaries, milk, and boots. She asked for a Pride and Prejudice birthday party, and it was as adorable as you’re imagining.

Frankie (4) also has joy, but it’s deeper down. Like really REALLY deep. He enjoys breaking things, making loud noises, the dead guy in the floor at church, and being the first one up in the morning. He also likes taco trucks. And Mary Jane.

Anita (6) is an intrepid little thing. She attacks everything she does with gusto, be it schoolwork, or preparing for her First Holy Communion, or keeping an eye on the doings of all her brothers and sisters. She WILL tattle if necessary. Or punch.

Gus (8) is looking forward to the new Star Wars movies with an excitement that borders on hysteria. He enjoys watching USNA football, and can totally keep up with the pushups each time they score, which he thinks makes him a shoo-in for acceptance.

Bobby (10) wanted his and Gus’ birthday party to be going to see the new Star Wars movie. When it was pointed out to him that his friends live all over town and their parents wouldn’t want to drop them off at a movie so far away, he suggested that WE do all the driving and that the party be IN our twelve passenger van. So that’s the plan. The party is IN the van.

Betty (almost 12) is the tennis ball around which our homemade model of the solar system rotates. She comforts the sorrowful, she feeds the hungry, she clothes the naked, she returns to bed those who have gotten up during nap time. And she learned how to cross stitch.

Jack (13) is, in a word, flourishing. He loves his new school, his teachers, and classes, and friends. He’s playing football and basketball, and is doing science and chess clubs. He is the owner of a provisional patent for a boomerang zipline, and has plans to start a business planning dangerous backyard birthday parties for kids. There are still some details to work out. But, really, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Kendra highly recommends being the mother of a teenager and a newborn.
It’s amazing. She’s a fan of the forty five minute version of labor. She
is grateful for loving parents, spunky kids, and a husband with whom
she can tackle even the craziest of renovation projects.

Jim’s proudest achievement this year is either having delivered a baby or having finished reading aloud the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books to the kids. Both were a pretty big deal.

Here’s hoping that two thousand sixteen is just as great, if a little less dramatic. And we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Love,
the Tierneys

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.

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.

PHOTO CHRISTMAS CARDS: WHY THEY ARE AWESOME