“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~ (source is complicated)

In most things, I am always looking to simplify, purge and reduce. I tend to lean towards the idea that less is more. Of course, there are always exceptions. Laughter is one thing I am constantly looking to increase.Β  Some days laughter comes easy. Kids are getting along, funny things happen, laughter is the music in our home. Other days are hard. Fighting. Arguing. Selfishness.

I want laughter…more and more and more of it. Fill my home to the brim. Let it overflow and spill out.

While I am proactive about simplifying most things in our home, I am proactive about searching for ways to bring in more laughter. I look for funny videos, jokes my kids will be tickled by, and just trying to loosen up and be goofy alongside them. Last week I introduced them to a face swapping app. We spent a ridiculous amount of time swapping faces. We took up way too much memory on my phone. We laughed. Loud. Hard. Together.Β  And it was so good.

3.12faceswap-013.12faceswap-023.12faceswap-033.12faceswap-043.12faceswap-053.12faceswap-06

One kiddo was gone during our face swapping and live filter antics. I’ll be sure to introduce her to its disturbing wonderfulness. I bet you can’t guess which boy was most excited about the app…faceswap

I mean, how can you not laugh at this goodness? My face. My son’s head. Laughter is the best. I think Ellen would agree.EllensTwin

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  • Debbie C - These are hilarious! I’ll have to try with my kids. Thanks for giving this sleep-deprived mom a good laugh. Btw…any tips on how to keep a 2year old in his toddler bed in the middle of the night would be most appreciated! Sigh.

  • Byron - That’s just scary! LoL! But obviously a ton of fun!

  • Brady W. - Hilarious! That one in the top middle kind of looks like Leonardo Dicaprio!

  • Debbie H - Hysterical. That app does a better job blending than some I’ve seen. And Little One is still rockin’ the bandaids. I’m sooo glad. Most things with kids change too fast. Glad she is holdin’ on there, but she looks very tall here. They are sure all growing up, as they are supposed to, but hard to watch for this person adverse to change. :) I so appreciate you letting us watch the antics of your family and learn with you along the way.

  • Rae - LOL! Love it! face swap so creeps me out πŸ˜€

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Ellen would LOVE this. Just sayin’

  • Tanya - Hilarious!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Charlotte Buckle - This is such a lovely and hilarious post! What a great way to get the whole family involved and laughing!

    C | http://atlantic-c.blogspot.ca/

  • Maureen - Our 19 year old was home on college spring break last week and made us all do it. Hysterical, some of them were truly frightening!!! My husband did it with our dog and we couldn’t stop laughing. Love these moments together as a family.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! Oh man- that Ellen side by side made me laugh so hard! This app is a favorite in our home too. It’s pretty much the best.

For YEARS and YEARS it was my favorite part of our home. A whole wall covered in every day moments.

In an interview with A Beautiful Mess, I once said, “My favorite feature in this room is a large photo wall over our (fake) mantel. The bottom row starts with a picture of an ultrasound when I was pregnant with our firstborn. Each year I add about 30 pictures to the wall. I reached the top of the wall with the pictures from 2012, so I think I might start moving across the wall next. I love being able to see the last nine years of our family at one glance. In an instant I am reminded how quickly time passes, how babies grow into toddlers and how toddlers become kids. The constant reminders that wall provides helps me keep the perspective that my days are numbered, and I want to live in the fullness of my days. I also treasure being able to look up and see so many memories of my family. The photos are just everyday shots that may not stand out to others, but to me they recount the beauty of days past.”

12.14mpixprints-05The wall was an easy conversation starter when guests would fill our home. It was also the backdrop to so many memories happening in the heart of our home.3.12photowall-013.12photowall-023.12photowall-05Eventually, the pictures started extending across another section of the wall. People would always ask how long I was planning on adding to the wall. I always said, “I don’t know. Until I get tired of it I guess.”12.14mpixprints-06I wasn’t sure if the day would ever come that I would want to change it.

And then a few months ago, I started thinking about taking it down. And I thought more and more about it. They say thoughts bear actions, which proved to be true in this case. I took the photos down. And then the fake mantle and fireplace followed. And a hole got cut out and new plans are being made.3.12photowall-07It doesn’t feel like my living room. There is a part of me that is a tiny bit sad, but mostly I’m ready for the change. I think as my kids grow and the house is increasingly full of my own kids and extra kids all the time…I need blank spaces. Visual calmness in the midst of physical loudness. So…I’ve got a big blank space…and I think I’m going to like it.

Thankfully, I take a ridiculous amount of pictures and I can look back with fondness at my wall through them.

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  • Tiffany - What will you do with the all pictures? That sounds like a fun project. I recently found out the term for blank walls on @centsationalgirls blog, negative space. I’m sure you’re supposed to use it strategically but for me, it’s calming and allows my eyes and brain to take a rest.

  • Angie Webb - The day you posted on Instagram that your photo wall came down I received a text from my sister that said “she took her photo wall down!” haha. I immediately knew she was talking about you. We both love the idea and wanted to replicate it in our homes but neither of us has the right wall space for it. Such a beautiful idea. Good thing for pictures to always remember! Cannot wait to see what you do next!

  • Katie - I loved your photo wall, but I, too, understand the need for a blank slate! We just moved, and having a home with empty walls & boxes stuffed into corners for lack of storage is actually kind of nice. I’m discovering what I actually need on a daily basis, & what things I thought I’d want but don’t even miss at all.

    Blank spaces are Nice. :-)

  • Cathy - I’m excited to see your new plans for the wall! It was a great piece and I’m sure the new one will be just as awesome!

  • kimberly oyler - you know how i feel about change… but i’m excited to see the new plans!

  • Rachel - I think it’s a good time to take down the photo wall since you ended up with somewhat the shape of Oklahoma? It’s like you completed it!

  • Byron - Blank spaces are good; they encourage a quiet mind and silent heart.

    “Ideas of value always shun verbosity, being foreign to confusion and fantasy. Timely silence, then, is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”
    –St. Diadochos of Photiki

    “The silence of the heart is not the silence of emptiness or a state of nothingness. The silence of the heart is the sound of fullness. It is silent because no word, no image is sufficient. Only silence can contain the uncontainable.”
    –Fr. Freeman “The Language of Silence”

  • Emily - I can’t wait to see what you put there! Hooray for change!

  • Stephanie - Where can I find that wall paper? Its awesome.

  • sarah - that interview with ABM was when i first found your blog.:) i echo the question about the wallpaper. do you mind sharing where it’s from?

  • Rae - Change is bittersweet; I’m gonna miss that wall as a backdrop to all your beautiful pictures that you post on this blog and instagram!

  • Haley - aw, I loved that wall. I can’t wait to get a house and start a photo wall of our own.

  • Jessica - Oh man, I understand but I was so inspired by that project! I actually did my own recently, in our hallway. Thank you for the inspiration!

A week or so I shared about how my grandpa surprised my daughter with her own red hammer. She had been asking for one to build a house. Red is her favorite color, so her great grandpa painted one of his just for her.

2.16donuts-11A few days later, he came over with a pieces cut out to make a birdhouse. These two are just a bit smitten with each other. Just a bit.

3.12birdhouse-013.12birdhouse-023.12birdhouse-033.12birdhouse-04She decided she wanted her birdhouse to be different shades of pink.3.12birdhouse-05I was pretty excited about her color choices….3.12birdhouse-06…until she changed her mind and wanted to add red and green. There was a small part of me that wanted to tell her we only had pink paint. However, I knew I couldn’t do that. My parents never limited creativity…no matter how odd or ugly they might have thought what Lesley and I chose was. They just let us create. So – thanks mom and dad – her ombre pink birdhouse is not so ombre pink. Just the way she likes it.

birdhouse-01

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  • Tiffany - Just had to pop in to say these pictures are PRECIOUS!!! Thank you for sharing them. They started my Tuesday with a smile!

  • carol - It just as beautiful as a white room with blue rag rolled texture on it!!

  • Elizabeth - So precious to capture the relationship between these two!

  • Kristina - Just precious!

  • Byron - Awesome job! I bet the birds LOVE it! Well done.

  • Christine - That relationship is a prize! And what a beautiful birdhouse as a result. Those two are very lucky.

  • Lauren - Your grandpa is really the cutest! (Great- and otherwise) grandparents are the best. What a gift.

  • Carrie - The pictures of the two of them are just adorable and so priceless. What a gift!

  • Diana - This whole story is just so charming. Makes me want to go hug my grandpa!

  • Kate - I absolutely love the photo of your great grandpa smiling while holding the red hammer with your daughter. Wow! What love!

  • Kath - No wonder you are such a beautiful person coming from stock like that :)

  • dumna mama - Nice first birdhouse and noble

  • Tessa - Every time I read posts about little special things your grandparents and/or parents do for or with your kids, I make mental notes about how I want to be the same way with my grandkids some day! So much love!

  • Patti - Precious! How blessed to have Grandpa!

  • Carrie Anne - This is such a refreshing post. I got all teary eyed thinking of the wonderful legacy he is leaving, and how well you captured it.

  • Natalie - what a treasure this is. heart bursting.