A few years ago Elle got what she had been begging and begging for for Christmas: a new camera.

She was delighted.

And instead of going around taking pictures of her Christmas gifts or of her family, she promptly went about taking pictures of everything on our walls. A wrought iron piece of decor, each picture lining our stairway, the picture of Jesus in our entry way, the picture of Grace making a funny face in our living room…you name it, those things on the walls were the first thing on her photography agenda.

Since that day I’ve been extra sensitive as to what’s on our walls. If my daughter thought they were important enough to be her first items of business with her new camera, they obviously meant something to her.

I think we underestimate the influence of what we put on our walls. My kids notice the second I change something. So I better make what I change it to stuff that counts.

So I’m going to post a little tour of what’s on our walls right now so I can remember it:This is a little kit for a family tree my friend gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. I LOVE it. It took a little while to get all those names on there, but I really enjoyed thinking about all those people that have influenced Dave and my lives in so many ways, and I love that our kids can see that on a regular basis as they walk out the door each day. I want them to know their roots (or “branches” in this case).

This is a favorite quote from President Hinckley another friend gave us for Christmas a few years ago. I want my kids to know how much Dave and I love and respect the prophet. (We need to get updated with President Monson at some point…)

This one doesn’t really need explanation…I should be super duper rich by now…

My brother gave me this collage of pictures he took in Jerusalem for Christmas last year. I’m so thankful to finally have something up on the walls to help me remember those six months I spent there on study abroad that meant so much to me and helped me decide I wanted to serve a mission.

And of course, what kid wouldn’t feel a little more loved having pictures of themselves plastered on the walls?

This is our “relatives” wall so we can be reminded of all the cousins and grandparents we don’t get to see on a regular basis.

And this is our map by our kitchen table. I had a guy come build a frame around this map so we could have it right there by where we eat…which often helps us talk about different things going on in the world over dinner (that is, when there isn’t a food fight or crying going on about how the kids don’t like what I made for dinner…or Lucy throwing a fit under the table). Dave and I want so much for our kids to be aware of the world and to instill in them a love of traveling and exploring it like we have. (We put red dots on all the places at least one of us has been to.)

I made this banner to hang over our front door because of a really neat experience my Dad had with those words. I love the thought of “loving more” (I love that it connotes action) and I hope we can really do just that in our family…love everyone around us and each other with our whole hearts.

And finally, after a ton of deliberation trying to figure out which picture to use, we settled on this one to have enlarged on canvas. This is where Dave and I got married and I hope my kids can know (from seeing it on the wall each day among many other things), how sacred and amazing we feel that our marriage, as well as that holy place is. (Yes, some day I’ll actually finish this room, but for now our new temple picture is doing the trick…at least for me.)Oh and I can’t forget the collage I made for Dave for his birthday last year of pictures from our big trip to Beijing for the Olympics…we don’t want to be forgetting that any time soon!

Anyway, every once in a while I take my kids around and give them a “tour” of our walls so they can know how much these things mean to me and why we have them up in our house.

Now we just need to figure out a family picture to enlarge…oh, and a place to display ancestor pictures…

Not enough walls.

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  1. Isn’t it interesting what kids find important? I remember times when I was growing up and my dad would borrow a video camera to record a recital or something, and we have many minutes of us videotaping our bedrooms. What is up with that?? Your house is beautiful and memory-building for your kiddies! I love it 🙂

  2. Oh my, just LOVE all the fabulous pictures. I especially love the temple picture- probably because I am trying to find one I love to put on canvas too. BTW- who did you go through for the canvas? Darling home. Can’t wait to get settled and feel like I can start decorating my home.

  3. i have the whining sign in my kitchen…i should also be a rich woman. and as far as the sweetness above your front door…mine says, “how can i miss you if you won’t go away?” our children will be secure for reasons very different than yours. haha!

  4. Your home is so lovely. I think the walls of our home are such a reflection of you and I wish my home was even more a reflection of me!

    (I think I have those same heart ornaments hanging on my chandelier in my eating area!)

  5. Where did you find that picture of the SCL temple??? I love it and MUST have it!!!! 🙂
    BTW – I’ll bring you my baby anytime, but beware, he’s a total barfer. Ask Rebecca how bad it is. You’ll change your mind real quick!!

  6. wow. This is the second time i have come out of lurkdom. I love the walls post mainly because I heard a talk given during education week where the speaker said that the things that we will find on our childrens walls will be the things they will place the most priority on. This has made me more conscious of what I let them hang up.

    And second, could you maybe leave me a post or email me at lagordita61@hotmail.com and let me know where you got your map. I noticed it ages ago on your blog in the background and never had the courage to ask. My in laws gave us one for christmas and is kinda tacky looking. Don’t really want to hang it up. Thanks.

  7. Shawni — I went to blurb this AM after your post… and I found some VERY happy news! 🙂
    Looks like they just started doing blogger again.
    I am REALLY happy because I wanted to do it before the baby’s born. Looks like I’ll be getting a lot of sitting at the computer time.
    You can email me at hilaryanddrew at gmail.com if you have any questions. btw, this entry looks delish, but I’m trying to get kids to school. 🙂

  8. I am dropping by because I saw your comment on Hilary’s blog…I don’t know if you remember me, but I am married to Joel Neves and I also served in Romania. When we lived down in AZ we did that little reunion a few years ago. Anyway…your home is beautiful and so is your blog! I will have to come visit more often!

  9. I love how you can get a sense of who you are by what things are on your wall. Your love for your family and for the gospel is immense and I love that! I too LOVE that Temple picture. Did you take it? I also LOVE how you decorated your dining room for valentines day – so festive!

  10. How fun to get a view of your walls. You do such a super job with displays. I heard a talk years ago that there was a family whose children all went into the navy rather than missions because they had pictures of ships around their house. There was another one of a girl on her mission that loved a certain picture of Christ because it reminded her of the one they had in her home growing up. You are correct in putting meaningful items up on your wall as they do affect our children’s lives more than we think. I like your “stop whining” one. I need to find that for our home. Thanks for sharing. You’re such a great gal! You keep me inspired.

  11. I made a point years ago to only have things hanging on my walls that have meaning to our family……just because they go with the decor doesn’t count 🙂

    It was great to see yours. Please answer the map question for us all. I have a more “kid happy” (meaning overly bright) version in the toy room, but love the idea of it in a family gathering spot.

    The guys doing the new bloggit book printing are only saying they’ll have it ready sometime in Feb. They don’t want their wives to get mad if it isn’t finished by the date they set 🙂

    I was glad to hear that Blurb is up and running again because I printed my 2007 year with them. It took an insane amount of time to pick a format for each page. But I am VERY happy with the outcome. I love the picture on the hardcover and I made sure to do my spine black with white writing of the year so that they will all match in the future. This is rambling, but my point is. Blurb takes more time than it should, but the result and the cost are great. Plus I had it within a week.

    The guys planning the new site claim they will be easier, equal in quality and even less expensive. I guess time will tell.

  12. I love all of those pictures but the collages are especially fun! How sweet that your brother made that memento of Jerusalem for you that brings back that tender memory. The one of China that you made is just FUN!

  13. FYI for those who have asked…the map is a National Geographic map. I got it here at a map store, but I saw one when I was up in Utah at a teaching supply store, and I’ve also seen them on the internet. Just google national geographic maps. It may look kinda cheesy on line or even in the store but when you get a nice frame around it I think it looks great. Mine is laminated so the kids can touch it and put stickers on it and it can hold up great.

    On the temple picture, I did take that. It was one of three I was trying to decide on. If anyone is interested I can order one for them as well. I love how it turned out if I do say so myself!

  14. Shawni…I’m not sure if I came out of the blog lurking closet yet or not. But hello! And I LOVE your blog.

    So I am in LOVE with that family tree. I wondered if you know where your friend got it. I’ve been looking and looking for one like that. You can email me at gregnmeg at gmail.com or leave a post on my blog http://margaret-hansen.blogspot.com/ Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  15. Thank you so much for the inspiration! I would love to do the a montage of the trip that hubby and I did for our anniversary…what a great idea! I would looove to do something similar to your stairwell.

  16. I love your map idea! I was wondering who you had come and frame it for you? I am in your same area of town and would love to have something like that on my walls. If you could email me his info that would be great! dsjag@hotmail.com Thanks for all your awesome ideas!

  17. I am in the process of turning a map into wall art and love the little stickers you used. Can you tell me where I might find some (or where you got yours)?


  18. Great stuff! Just thought I'd let you know that as of today (3/14/11), deseretbook.com still carries this family tree kit. Yours looks so nice that I think I'm going to buy a bunch and give them as Christmas gifts. Thanks for some great ideas!

  19. It looks like several people have already asked you but did you find out where your friend got the family tree. I would love to make one. Love your blog and your book! My email is ashb9@aol.com

    Ashley Allen

  20. We're moving into our new house on Monday and I remembered reading this post so long ago. I love many of the ideas on your walls, thanks for sharing.

    If you still have that SLC temple photo you chose to enlarge, I'd love to order one for our new home. Please let me know how much it will be.


    Thanks so much!

  21. I have noticed your family motto on the wall in your family room. Do you have any tips on how I might get ours
    put on canvas? Wouldn't it be a great
    Christmas gift for the family?

    Any ideas would be so helpful!

  22. Shawni, ever since I glimpsed your world map I have yearned for one!! Oh I just want these little people to know about other cultures and happenings. The day has come… we just ordered it! For anyone interested… you can get this National Geographic map 30 x 43 for $17 plus shipping, and a laminated one for $25. There's also more antique color versions on amazon. I'm hoping to save money and just make a frame ourselves. Our toy containers may still be diaper boxes, but at least we have a map 🙂 Here's the link – http://www.swiftmaps.com/servlet/the-1/National-Geographic-World-Executive/Detail

    Thank you Shawni!!

  23. I too am coming in on this 3+ years later… But, would you still be interested in taking orders for your temple picture? Love it & am hoping to have it hang in our entry.
    Thanks! 505rebekah {at} gmail.com

  24. We do this too, but we're just expecting our first child so I'm sure we'll get more and more personalized wall art.

    I don't even remember the original thing that led me to your blog but I have stayed and read page after page! We have a National Geographic map in our living room that is HUGE (6' by 9') and framed it with trim pieces from home depot. We love it because whenever we have people over and the conversation turns to something international all heads turn to the map.

    I also LOVE India (our international themed living room has throws and pillows from our most recent trip) and have been there three separate times and can't wait to go back!

  25. I just love this idea and they way you have decorated your family's home. Such a beautiful way to display your love. My husband and I also decorate our walls with our own photography and friends' artwork…our "rule" is to keep our walls meaningful.

    I used this post of yours as inspiration for my own latest blog post (it's about what's on the walls at the middle school I work at). I've credited your work by linking this post of yours to mine. Thanks for the inspiration!


  26. I found you through Kristen Duke so I realize this is a really old post but thank you for sharing your walls. I have the same problem where we just don't have enough. Our house is really small but I have so many pictures I want to put up; I've always thought collages were kind of cheesy but you did them in ways that makes them look sophisticated and grown up rather than something I had in my bedroom in high school.

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