Several people have asked about our new wall in the game room so here we go…

Through a series of events and inspirations, Dave came up with an idea to turn our game room wall into a giant family moment/inside joke/favorite quote/everything-family-you-can-imagine.

My friend had suggested doing a huge long frame with favorite family words and quotes.  We have a design friend who had re-done an entire office in the coolest things and part of it was custom wallpaper.  So we decided to combine those ideas and create something specifically “us.”

Luckily that design friend up in Utah (his name is Brian) knew the exact vision Dave had in his mind and started working with us.

For about nine months we sent him all kinds of things about our family.  Favorite games we play, favorite memories, all kinds of traditions, and he whipped up a graphic incorporating them all.

We got that graphic made into wallpaper, and some guys came and installed it the day before Thanksgiving.  WooHoo!

Here’s how it all started after they took the lights off to get going:

Here it is half-way up:
…and voila!  There’s our WALL:

The kids had helped us come up with all the ideas (even Max gave great input from Taiwan) so they were so excited to check it out.  It was fun that Elle was home for the big reveal.  Here we are walking in to see it:

We were all pretty excited!

It takes a long time to go through and explain every detail, which was so fun with Dave’s whole family over for Thanksgiving.  Here on the blog I’m going to take a sec to zone in on just a few things:
We put included lots of our very favorite family quotes.  This one is one I memorized with my family growing up and it’s just a classic:

Gotta love that Rummikub smiley face up there too.  I love how Brian just took what we said (we like to play Rummikub) and makes it kind of not so in-your-face.

More favorite quotes…and all our old addresses are on there with little houses next to them (on the left below).  We got Grammie camp in there and how Dave always tells the kids to have confidence and go into places with a wink and gunfingers πŸ™‚  That little map on the right is Romania (there’s one of Taiwan and Hawaii and Utah up there different places too) and that “lang zalze leven” is the birthday song we sing because it’s been passed down from Dave’s side of the family:

Five of the “Grandfather’s Secrets” are up there (see below) each with that all-seeing eye symbol, and everyone’s heights (and birthdays) are included.  I love that all of the heights have footprints and Lucy’s is complete with all eleven toes.
 ^^Brian scanned in a lot of the kids’ art work too.  Gotta love that Aslan is up there^^ “Aslan, the king of all Narnia and the symbol of Jesus Christ.”

“Feliz Cumpleanos” is because Grace’s birthday tradition is a piΓ±ata:

Dave’s nicknames for Grace and Elle and another family favorite game:

 (And Dave’s Dad’s quote from the speech he gave at a devotional at BYU-Idaho is below that.)

Yarn because the Easter Bunny uses that to help the kids find their Easter baskets on Easter morning:

 “Nerdos” because that’s what Dave calls us all if we’re on our phones too much, and you gotta have a little Shakespeare, right?

 ^^Our cars names “Jenna” and “Stella” are up there too (and “Ted” is somewhere else).

A huge map of the world with this little color guide πŸ™‚

The hearts are to represent our “heart-attacks” we do every Valentine’s Day:

Boston University and our family motto…a drawing Claire did of our family last year, a funny text from Max, and my favorite “Life is Long” quote from my mom.  Oh and how Dave and Max always say “I’m 100% sure.”


Lucy’s works are scanned in all over the place:

“Te Iubesc” is “I love you” in Romanian:

 …we also have it written in Chinese Characters and in Braille.

There’s a Christmas tree with a quote from “The Gift of the Magi” down there below (we love that book and always read it among our Christmas books under the tree), gotta have the touching the temple business and Taylor Swift.

 …also up there is Gabby our first pet ever that was sadly accidentally stepped on by one of Max’s friends the first day we had it so she’ll always live in our memory.  (The story about her and her funeral is back HEREπŸ™‚

Families Fighting Blindness, the “Chateau” (Dave’s family car growing up), rainbow pancakes and Angkor Wat all made it in.

I could go on and on, and you really need to see it in real life to really be able to fully appreciate it, but you get the idea.

We are in love with that thing and we’ll cherish it forever.  So grateful for Brian for his amazing ability to put all these ideas into a whole that makes up that wall.


  1. I think this may be one of my FAVORITE things you have ever posted!! I would love to copy your idea and make one of these walls in my home someday. I think it is so incredible and such an amazing family history. So fun for your whole family to be able to share some of the most important things to each of you and have it always there as a reminder. Also-it looks totally cool too-such a fun addition to the room!

  2. This might be my favourite thing you have ever posted too! I just love your family, even though we arecstrangers. I love how you have modelled young kids and now teenagers. You make it look so much fun! Thank you!!

  3. This is such a neat idea! I love how many different things you were able to incorporate.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but are some of the heights incorrect? Just from photos alone your younger girls don't appear to be as short. I thought Grace would be taller than 5 feet. Maybe you're using heights from a younger age?

    1. Yes the heights were originally supposed to be accurate as of the time when Max graduated (this is kind of a "window" into the time when we had all kids at home), but somehow with a bunch of new things we added and I think with the measurements of the baseboard maybe not added in they turned out to be a little off. Which is all good πŸ™‚

  4. Love this! Just wondering what the story behind 'lang zal ze leven' is? I'm Dutch, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this be a part of your family wall(paper) πŸ™‚

    1. Dave's grandparents are Dutch so we always sing that version of the Happy Birthday song after singing the original version. When I first married into this family it was so funny/foreign to me when they just launched into that song, and now I love that it's just such a regular part of birthdays around here.

  5. Shawni! Can you please give me the link to the post on the chinese art on your dining room. I have now spent an hour looking for the post and can't seem to come up with the key words to bring up the link. We have two little girls adopted from china and I would like to so something similar. Thanks Kelleyn Rothaermel

  6. AMAZING!! Beautiful! I love how much family and traditions mean to all of you! Your family is just beautiful in every way! We need Brian's contact info!:)

  7. This is seriously the best thing I have ever seen! I just adore your family and have learned so much from you about how to make life more meaningful, rich and beautiful! Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your family with all of us.

  8. Wow!!! I would never ever be able to stop looking at that! Racking my brain to figure out how to include that in my home! Absolutely love it. Y'all have done an amazing job making your home uniquely yours. Thanks for the inspiration. ❀️

  9. Never seen anything quite like this before!

    I think "don't let your schooling get in the way of your education" is a quote from Mark Twain.

    Would be cool if you had stickers or something to update the map as you travel

    If I were one of your younger kids still growing I'm not sure I would like my "younger self" height immortalized forever on the wall.

  10. Can I just thank you for being this person? A person who shares light. Real, genuine light. This made my jaw drop and my heart swell. It's all about remembering and keeping those home fires burning bright.

  11. So fantastic! I would love to do something similar in my home. Could you please share Brian's contact information? Also, how does one go about getting custom wallpaper made? Thank you so much!

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