Full House and Happy Hearts

Last weekend, we were in Kansas, celebrating Christmas with the extended family Saturday, the 23rd. What an incredible, growing bunch they are! You should have heard all the happy talk, laughter, little kids, and joy.

This year, we tried something a little different. Each adult (excluding Dad + Mom) was in a pool of names, and they gave to just one person. Then, the cousins each gave to one cousin plus an aunt or uncle. Some of freely shared who our person was, while others kept it a secret until the day. We really enjoyed being able to just focus on two people! Dad and Mom gave and received gifts from everyone. One thing I especially loved was hearing how the little ones came up with ideas for the aunt or uncle they bought for all on their own.

I’m grateful for family.

And now we are in Iowa, gathered for John and Chelsy’s wedding!


Dad and Drew

Drew knew what he wanted to buy for Uncle Joseph: work rubber boots! That little guy was so excited!

John went to Iowa the day before to spend time with the Bontragers + extended family, and then he and Chelsy came to celebrate with us Saturday!

You probably don’t understand how special of a gift the above was! Andrew had Ruthie, and he wanted to get her glasses, as Ruthie loves Tina’s glasses. That look is priceless.

Liddy had Mary!

Calia’s love of animals came through with her gift!

A selfie going on here.

Ruthie knew she wanted to get me a hat and a pink one!

Drew making use of his new dump truck.

My sweet “puppy.”

This is an extremely practical gift: a director’s chair for Mary to use with face painting.

Melanie did an incredible job with calendars for Dad and Mom. I love looking through them.

Mary’s labor of love making cards for GiGi!

Some rested in the afternoon, and some of us played games.

We did our traditional Christmas program in the evening.

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
they shall praise the Lord that seek him:
your heart shall live for ever.”
Psalm 22:26

21 thoughts on “Full House and Happy Hearts”

  1. What a blessing! We are having our final Christmas gathering today. Both my married sisters are here and my dad’s family is coming over for lunch! Can’t wait!

    Hoping the wedding goes successfully! Congratulations, John and Chelsy!

  2. Such a special family! Precious times together. Love Ruthie’s glasses, and your pink hat is so cute! Mary’s homemade cards are incredible, and Melanie’s calendar is so neat! Wow. I think the new gift exchange idea really worked well!
    Praying over the wedding today!

  3. Thank you for sharing the photos of your Christmas with your family. That is really special the children knew what gift they wanted to buy for the person they drew for.

    I am praying for John and Chelsy as they begin a new life
    together. Congratulations John and Chelsy.

  4. I love the practicality of the gift exchange and how happy everyone looks in the photos. (Ruthie’s glasses are just precious! That was such a thoughtful gift. Just makes my heart melt! <3) I’m guessing everyone still exchanged gifts with your mom and dad? (If so, I really like that solution! Much as I appreciate the practicality of a gift exchange/drawing names, I couldn’t imagine not getting something for my mom at Christmas, lol!) Thanks for sharing your holidays with us, and wishing you an awesome 2018.

  5. Looks like the Maxwell family had a wonderful Christmas! 🙂 These photos are so precious.
    May the coming year hold many blessings for you all!
    Love, Mrs. Patti

  6. Ahhhh! Love this post so so much. Look at all those little cuties. What adorable nieces and nephews…. Y’all have been so blessed! LOVE Andrew’s gift to Ruthie. <3

  7. This is so nice. Our family did a gift exchange and we did the Christmas program in the evening. We use your program, but we’ve tweaked it a lot. My moms dad joined us this year. He played the guitar when we sang, I played the piano. I must say Drew was so cute using his dump truck to throw away wrapping paper, Joshua does the same thing. Congrats to John and Chelsey. Can’t wait to see wedding pictures. Happy New Years!

  8. Love Ruthie’s glasses! She is adorable! And your hat Sarah, is awesome. Some folks can wear hats and some can’t (me). You look great!. Of course I love the cards Mary made for Gigi! Teri has a popcorn popper, what does Steve have?

    Looks like a wonderful Christmas party!
    Blessings ya’ll,

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